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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Upgraded Middle School, Kolpara - McCluskiegunj

On Friday, 15th May 2015, I accompanied a newspaper reporter friend of mine to one government Upgraded Middle School. I have seen other UMS as well but was surprised by this particular one situated at Kolpara near Chatti Nadi Village here in McCluskiegunj.

The Team

Mr. Sudhanshu Srivastava (Principal)

I met the Principal Mr. Sudhanshu Kumar Srivastava and his four teaching staff who were more than obliged to show us around and to explain to us the system and functioning of the school.We started with the kitchen.

Rice and eggs boiling for Friday's midday meal

As per the government rules, free midday meals are provided to all the students that include children studying in eight classes, class I to VIII. There was a fireplace built of mud. It had logs of wood burning under it to boil the rice and the eggs that were on the menu for the day. Due to the wood fire, the walls were quite black but it was very clean otherwise. This school follows a menu that has additional items to go with the normally supplied stuff by the government such as pickles.

The weekly menu

Those pink coloured cards suspended above the students are cards which have words printed on one side and the object representing the words on the other side.

Then we went to take a look into the classrooms. Here again I noted that there were using teaching aids in the lower classes. This is not to be seen in all such schools. Mr. Srivastava has included extra books into the curriculum to help the children learn English. He takes separate classes to teach the children spoken English. Common words and sentences though. Please, thank you, my name is, I live in/at etc.

The school Time-Table

He has a printed time-table pasted on the office cupboard which determines which teacher teaches which subject and on which days. Each teacher has to fill in a lesson plan copy which has been additionally introduced into the school at his expense. He also gifts pencils and erasers to kids and pays for them from his own pocket. Mr. Srivastava is indeed the Principal all the UMS deserve. He is dedicated and works in a team. He emphasizes on games and sports as well. He did mention that the school lacks a lot in terms of infrastructure.

The toilets and the hand-pump. The hand-pump, only source of drinking and washing water 

There is need of proper boundary walls and toilets. Currently there is a toilet for boys and girls separately under one roof but it isn't enough. There is a  boundary wall but only on one side. He was pleased to allow me put this article and these pictures on this blog and hopes it will be an inspiration to others in charge of other UMS and also it helps the government in learning where it needs to concentrate for the proper development and requirements of such schools.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Watch Tower : McCluskiegunj Hill : Tourist Attraction

Good news for McCluskiegunj!

Once upon a time, there used to be a watch tower (wooden) on a hill at McCluskiegunj. It was there till the seventies but as the old settlers left or isolated themselves in their homes, the tower was part by part taken away by villagers to make furniture or to use as firewood. Sad but true.

The hill that it was built on is at a triangle that touches three villages. Hesalong, Lapra and Konka. It is said that from the tower distant places such as Khalari were easily visible.

Since McCluskiegunj has been declared a Tourist Centre, there has been demands of making it more attractive and making it a reason for people to long to visit the place.

The State Forest Department has finally taken the first step in this direction and has now started building a similar tower in the same location. It is believed that the hill that the tower is being built on, will be walled off and more trees will be planted. It will also have steps from the foot of the hill to the top where the tower is being constructed.

Isn't this something to share?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spreading Awareness about Education

Parents,teachers and schools presidents in village Hesalong, McCluskiegunj

Students, teachers and parents of the State Middle School at Hesalong village here joined a campaign to spread the awareness of schools and education in the surrounding area and requested the villagers to send their children to school and to seek admission for them.

Ward Member Yashoda Devi along with teachers Lakhan Kumar, Kavita Devi, Kabir Minj, Gopal Singh and student leaders Pooja Kumari, Sangeeta Kumari, Vijay Kumar, Varsha Kumari, Sandhya Kumari, Sonia Kumari and others took part in the campaign.

Teacher Lakhan Kumar is also a Hindi Weekly Newspaper reporter and a R.T.I. activist and runs a blog "Movement Against Corruption".

A primary school in Hutab village, McCluskiegunj

In another episode, free school uniforms were distributed among 50 students of a Primary School here. These students are studying in classes 1 to 5. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

School Children Protest on Streets in McCluskiegunj

Children from local Hindi medium schools including primary and middle schools protest on streets here in McCluskiegunj holding hand written banners and boards in Hindi today. They demand the right for female students to be educated before being married off and are willing to make do with half a meal a day but need education in return.
Many female children are not allowed to study even up to the 10th standard and are forced into marriage at an early age while male children are forced to work in hotels, brick kilns or on vehicles etc. depriving them from the most essential need, education.
Neha Prasad, Usha Choudhary, Geeta Giri, Sabina Khatoon, Prem Kumar, Gopal Singh and Kabir Minj were leading the students in their protest.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Bee Tree

Captured this morning... this is picture of a tree the that is known for a great no. of bee hives on it. It is infested with the insects for the past many years. Year by year the no. of hives are increasing. The residents of it's surrounding area are terrified by them. Every morning the bees leave their hives and venture into the jungles to collect nectar. There are over a hundred varieties of wild flowers of many sizes here.

In the evenings when these bees return, the sound produced by them is like a helicopter hovering over the area and can be heard from as far as a km. 

I tried taking a picture of this particular tree last year but something or the other delayed me and finally the tree was full of leaves that normally hide the hives. The new leaves for this year have just begun to grow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Road Construction Changed Location

This is interesting...

A concrete road measuring 8.36 km that was to be constructed beside Miss. Peace Bonner's house and the railway tracks began at a much different location, and work was in full swing until villagers found that the material being used was of low grade and objection was raised by the forest department. The location was then not noticed or was not considered an issue. but on objections, the work was temporarily stopped.

At the beginning of the road that started from the main road (Nehru Road) was the foundation stone which was inaugurated by Mr. Glen Galstaun, the Anglo-Indian M.L.A. and it stated clearly the supposed location.

It is believed that this is a 2.5 crore project. The road construction work began on the previously built concrete road to the Birhor Colony. This was done deliberately to save on material to be used. Even more, if the road was constructed on the meant to be route, large bridges would have to be built.

Now the work has restated so the matter was brought to the notice of Mr. Galstaun and he said he will raise the issue in the Vidhan Sabha and will also report the matter to the Rural Development Minister, Mr. Neelkantha Singh Munda for investigation. Here are cuttings of the news on two dates.

Prabhat Khabar, 14/03/2015, page 09

Prabhat Khabar, 15/03/2015, page 05 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Noel Perth Gordon passed away

One of the old settlers and a prominent figure of McCluskiegunj, Mr. Noel Perth Gordon passed away early this morning.
Noel was the owner of the 'Gordon Hostel' and 'Gordon Guest House'. He was well known by people of McCluskiegunj as Noel Uncle.
The burial ceremony took place in the McCluskiegunj cemetery at 5:45 pm where a large no. of people came to pay their last respects to the departed soul. Among them were our M.L.A., Glen Galstaun and Surendra Nath Pandey including the Principal and staff of the Don Bosco Academy. McCluskiegunj has lost a well known personality.
Noel came to McCluskiegunj with his parents in 1958 when he was just a 10 year old boy. He was the son of William and Nancy Gordon. Noel was deeply attached to McCluskiegunj and was not to leave the Gunj for the love of anything.
He shall be remembered and missed by all those who knew him.
May his soul rest in peace.