Demolition, unfulfilled promise of GVMC leave disabled kids in a lurch in Andhra Pradesh

The school, which was functioning near Ushodaya Junction, was brought down on June 5. GVMC's proposed committee to allot land is yet to be formed
Parents and students at the protest | Pic: EPS
Parents and students at the protest | Pic: EPS

Around 150 mentally and physically challenged children along with their parents staged a protest near Hidden Sprouts School premises on Thursday, more than 100 days after the school was brought down by the authorities citing the expiry of the land lease.

School authorities and parents stated that the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) authorities have not allocated an alternate land for Hidden Sprouts school after it was partially demolished by the civic authorities.

The school, which was functioning near Ushodaya Junction, was brought down on June 5. However, a week after the demolition, a public statement was issued by GVMC Commissioner G Srijana stating that a free-of-cost long-term land and necessary equipment would be provided to the school within a week, but the promise remains on paper.

Founder and principal of Hidden Sprouts school Kandipilli Srinivas Rao said a site in Arilova was sanctioned by July-end but it was again taken back by the authorities. "As directed by the authorities, we have paid `21,000 for the land. But in the end, they didn't give us the property. No reasons were given. It has been exactly 110 days since the land was seized. We were promised an alternate land by GVMC authorities. However, till now nothing has happened," Srinivas lamented.

When enquired, GVMC authorities said a committee would be formed to allot land. However, the committee is yet to be formed, he said. Though the issue will be listed on the agenda of the Spandana programme being held at the collectorate every week, no decision was taken.

The parents of the mentally and physically challenged children are the worst-affected. They said it is becoming difficult to handle their children in the absence of the school. "My children, like all other special children, need constant care and attention. I am a single mother. When I am going to work, no one is there to take care of my children. At the same time, I cannot stop working either," Nagaveni, a mother of two, said.

Another parent, P Lakshmi explained how her 25-year-old son receives a lot of flak and is being bullied in their neighbourhood. "Other people of his age call him with ugly names. We had no issue earlier because my son was always at school. Now with the school closed, he has become agitated and aggressive," she said. Lakshmi requested the authorities to consider opening the school as soon as possible for the betterment of all the students studying there.

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