Published: 10th June 2021
School for differently-abled children in Visakhapatnam demolished as it illegally occupied civic body land
According to the commissioner, Srinivas, who is running the school, produced a letter given to him by a commissioner in 2012 of which the GVMC has no official record
Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) commissioner G Srijana on Thursday said 'Hidden Sprouts', a school for specially-abled children, was demolished because it was an illegal occupant of the civic body's open site. "Actually it is an open site. As per Supreme Court's guidelines, there should not be any construction on an open site," Srijana told the media.
According to the commissioner, Srinivas, who is running the school, produced a letter given to him by a commissioner in 2012 of which the GVMC has no official record. "It was true that the school was running there. It is unauthorized. The structure is unauthorized. There is no record in our office as to that letter he was showing," she said.
Srijana said no construction is allowed in an open site, complying with the Supreme Court's orders and clarified that even if any kind of a construction was allowed, it can only be a park. Srinivas made a representation to the civic body to extend the 'lease' but Srijana contended that 'first there is no lease. Second, I cannot give a lease on an open site'. She said that every layout must have a certain portion of land as an open site which should be open to the sky, bereft of construction.
"So it is one of those reserved sites. Now that he made a representation to us, seeking extension of that supposed lease, I need to reply to him officially. First there is no lease and I cannot now give a lease because it is an open site again," the official asserted. The civic body had served two notices to Srinivas to vacate the premises in MVP Colony, as schools were not operating due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Srijana said 'Hidden Sprouts' was not a residential school and it was the right time to free that space from this unauthorized occupation. "Since there were no children and no running school there, we asked him to vacate the premises. Because we were not removing anybody from there. We were not closing down an actively running school," she observed. In addition to clearing the school, GVMC also offered an alternative space like a community hall or some other place to run it but Srijana said Srinivas got emotional and mobilized children to create a scene in the form of a protest.
Former chief minister and Andhra Pradesh's principal opposition leader Nara Chandrababu Naidu condemned the demolition of the special school. Former Indian cricket team's chief selector and former cricketer MSK Prasad had also appealed to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Member of Parliament V Vijayasai Reddy to stop this move by the civic body.