The future of 500 students of National Children Academy School in Wadgaon Sheri is now uncertain after the 40-year-old school was demolished by a builder for raising a residential building on the land. The shocking incident came to light on June 16, when parents went to drop the students to school and found the debris all around. The school runs classes for children from nursery till Class X.
The school is run by the Vidya Vikas Mandal Trust and was established in October 1974. It is an unaided English-medium school where children from middle and lower middle class families pursue education.
The land had been leased to school management by a local land owner. However, lately, his son Shekhar Galande started demanding the land back. The matter was subjudice.
A parent, Ambadas Bagal, said that it was on June 16 when they came to the school to drop their kids and received a rude shock as the school was demolished. "When we inquired about the same from the management, they said that the land owner had demolished the land since it was his property. They promised that they would try for some alternate space where the school can run on makeshift basis," he said. According to other parents, the management had given in writing that by June 23, an alternate space would be found. But when it wasn't the case on Monday and the parents raised a ruckus.
Suman Shinde, deputy director of Education, said that she had directed the education officer to go and inspect the situation and warned the school management to look for alternate space for school as soon as possible.
While speaking to dna, one of the trustees of the school, Prafful Chandra Rananware, said that the school land was given to his father by the land owner named Galande on lease in 1974. "Over the years, every thing went smoothly. However, recently, Shekhar, the present land owner, started demanding his land back since the land price had started soaring in the area. Two years back, he even tried to demolish the portion of the school but we went to court."
In 2013, the court ordered 'status quo' and told both the parties not to construct or demolish anything on the land. However, recently, there was some compromise between both the parties. "The builder was ready to give space for school in the proposed residential complex building," he said.
Meanwhile land owner and builder Shekhar said that as per out of court settlement and the written agreement with the school management, it was decided to earmark 10 rooms for the school in the proposed building. "It was decided that the school management will arrange for makeshift space till the time construction is completed and it was only after agreement that we demolished the school on May 16 and school trustees were present."
"Since the school has started, the students are being made them to sit in a marriage hall for the last two days. Our children have been told that by June 23, there will be an alternate place for school. The admissions in the other schools are full, we cannot even go and ask for admissions."
Sunita Ambedkar, a parent
"The school management has kept us in dark and allowed the owner to demolish the structure. While doing so, they did not even inform the principal of the school."