news Monday, July 06, 2015 - 05:30
  "Just follow this nala, the smell will lead you there," says a shopkeeper as he points in the direction of a garbage filled, putrid smelling, open drain, when asked where the nearest government school can be found. At the end of the drain's path is a government primary school where children are playing, as it is the lunch break. This stench of garbage is thick in the air and green algae and muck cover an entire side of the school. "This is nothing. Come when it rains, the entire place will be like this," says one of the sweepers in the school. The school, ironically, is situated in Film Nagar in Hyderabad, one of the poshest localities in Hyderabad where several Telugu industry superstars stay. A few lanes away from magnificent skyscrapers with state of the art facilities, these children try to get an education, surrounded by filth.     "We have been trying to get this fixed for several years. The children keep falling sick, the water is dirty, and that pungent smell is there throughout the year. It only gets worse during the rainy season as the stench increases and children have to sometimes wade in knee deep sewage to enter the class room," says one of the teachers at the school. S Srinivas, is a resident of Film Nagar, lives nearby and has been fighting for the school for the past three years. "The school was established around 2007 and was very neat and tidy. You would see at least a 150 to 200 children running around happily," he says. That same number has dwindled to about 50 now.     It all started after skyscrapers started being built around the area in 2010 as the area was booming from the IT growth the city was witnessing.  "These tiny drains can handle the sewage from the slum but imagine the amount of waste that comes out of a 20 floor apartment with 50 or 60 households. Of course it is going to overflow," Srinivas adds.     Srinivas and a group of people have been fighting for a cleaner neighbourhood and have approached district collectors through multiple regimes, the local MLA as well as Hyderabad District Educational Officer Somesh Reddy, but to no avail. "I tried everybody. I even tried approaching a few NGOs but everyone said they'll look into the matter soon and they never came after that," he says. Despite other reports on the school and a copy of a video even reaching Telangana deputy chief minister, no action has been taken so far.  The situation is only getting worse with each passing day as more children are falling sick and eventually opting to discontinue their education. Giving up hope on the authorities, Srinivas even tried to crowd fund the money needed.  "We calculated that we can raise about Rs 50,000 from donations but the masons say it will take at least Rs. 2 lakh to repair all that. Where do we go for that kind of money?" he asks.      (Pictures by Nitin B)
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