Raipur: It lies at
the heart of the Maoist badlands in Chhattisgarh but is now set to
acquire the tag of Education City with the creation of a 150-acre
campus housing 15 schools and colleges that will cater to some
5,000 students from poor and tribal families. Even more
remarkably, the campus at Dantewada will be run on solar power.
"Like other innovations, Education City is also a child of a need
- the need for educated, skilled, trained and dedicated pool of
citizenry which can not only understand the area's needs but also
fill the gap between supply and availability of skilled
workforce," Omprakash Choudhary, the district magistrate of
Dantewada who conceived the
project, told IANS.
Dantewada, a forested region located in the southern tip of the
state, has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons,
most notably in April 2010 when 75 paramilitary troopers were
killed in a Maoist ambush.
'Education City' is expected to be fully operational in 18 months.
Some institutes have already opened.
What then will Education City encompass? There will be an
Industrial Training Institute for 100 students, a residential
school for girls with a hostel for 500, Kasturba Ashram with a
hostel for 100 and Astha Gurukul with a hostel for 800. There will
also be a tribal ashram and a school for 50, a residential school
for boys, a model school and a security guard training institute,
each with hostels for 500m a scouts and guides training Institute,
a research institute for tribal children, a playground and a
Money for the project is coming from various government schemes
such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and CSR (corporate social
responsibility) funds of the National Mineral Development
Corporation, Essar and other companies.
Not for nothing is Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh upbeat
about the project.
"Education City will not only cater to the educational needs of
the vast tribal populace inhabiting Bastar, worst-hit by left-wing
extremism, but also usher in an era of peace and prosperity,"
Raman Singh told IANS. Dantewada is one of the least literate
districts (30.1 per cent) of the country.
Since Dantewada is a power deficit area, each block in the
Education City will be separately powered with solar photo voltaic
cell. The individual break-ups have not been given but as per
officials of CREDA, which sells solar power equipment, each block
will have Rs.60 lakh solar power set up.
The total cost of Education City is pegged at Rs. 100 crore, to be
funded under various schemes of the state government and CSR funds
of NMDC and Essar. It would be spread across 150 acres and will
comprise 14-15 institutes. Each institute will have a separate
solar system, academic building, playground, garden, hostel and
other infrastructure facilities.
It is said that it will be completed in 18 months but insiders say
it will take much more time and the cost will also increase.
Still. the very fact that it is coming up is quite remarkable.
(N.K. Mishra can be contacted at email@example.com)