Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Sep 13 (SocialNews.XYZ) Taking strong cognisance of media reports of children forced to row to school in thermocol rafts, the Bombay High Court's Aurangabad Bench has ordered the Collector to provide proper facilities to the kids within 12 hours.
A division bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge and Justice Y. G. Khobragade on Monday has asked the Collector to provide at least two boats for the children on the Jayakwadi Dam backwaters with a specialised operator, life-jackets and rescue air tubes to ferry the pupils to and from school safely.
The court said that the boat or a motorboat if possible, should be operated in multiple shifts to enable not only serve the students during their school timings, but also provide a round-the-clock transportation for the people in the area.
The court’s directives came in a suo moto PIL after it took cognisance of a media report on August 27, highlighting the plight of the children of Bhiv Dhanora village living around the dam.
The students were forced to use makeshift rafts from thermocol sheets and bamboo sticks, called locally as ‘chappus’, and used square pieces cut out as paddles with which they rowed across the dam to and from school daily.
The village is barely five kms away from the busy Pune-Aurangabad national highway, but is surrounded by the Jayakwadi dam’s backwaters and two local rivers, Lahuri and Shivana.
The court also appointed advocate Pushkar Shendurnikar as the Amicus Curiae for the case and lauded the grit of the students, girls and boys, some below 10 years, who fought all odds to get education.
"We have no words to express our appreciation for the girl and male students coming from farmers’ families… who have shown their grit and determination in pursuing their education by travelling to school from the backwaters and returning back," noted the judges.
The court also said the children deserve compliments for undertaking such a journey twice daily for the pat over a year though its an everyday threat to life, with snakes and other creatures lurking around.
Besides, pregnant women, elderly or ill persons needing medical attention have also been relying on these ‘chappus’ to travel to the nearest health care centres.