Hyderabad: Students and parents of four government-run schools here have alleged that theHyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) has encroached upon the playground belonging to the educational institutions. Moreover, the Hyderabad district collector has also written to the HMRL demanding that the land be returned back to the schools.
On Wednesday, a protest was held by students and parents against the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) for allegedly encroaching upon land allotted to the educational institutions, which include the well-known City Model High School in 2015.
The land that was allotted to the schools for the construction of a cultural stage and a volleyball court has allegedly been encroached by the HMRL for the construction of a commercial structure or a vehicle parking for the metro rail users. Walls were built temporarily between it and the school, said parents, by the HMRL to ensure that students would not get hurt during the metro rail’s construction.
When the metro rail works were in progress in 2013, the four government schools had to be relocated for the construction of the green channel. The institutions were temporarily shifted to a rented building, before a ground plus three structure was allotted and built for the schools in 2015.
The Government City Model Primary and High schools and Government Girls Primary and High schools with approximately a strength of 1500, have now been shifted into the G+3 building, which now has little ground space for students to play.
The School Management Committee also approached the then Hyderabad district collector, who had written to the HMRL’s managing director, NVS Reddy, in 2019, demanding that the land be returned to the schools and the promises given to the schools be fulfilled.
“During the construction of the metro, the HMRL had built walls to protect students from construction work accidents, which were promised to be taken down once works were completed. Instead, now the land is being encroached by the HMRL who are claiming to make a commercial structure there,” said a school teacher, Nazeer.
A little space was left open between the school and the land now encroached where the students could enter and play, “During the COVID-19 lockdown when schools were shut, and authorities were away the gap was shut completely by the metro authorities, completely isolating the land from the school premises,”
Although the MD on several occasions had ensured that the land would be returned to the school. However, parents said that a day earlier on November 24, a few officials visited the site and performed pooja at land belonging to the school. They told Siasat.com that a commercial structure and metro parking is being constructed on the site, following which aggrieved students and parents protested.
“Two out of these four schools are unable to send their students for an assembly or outdoor activities. Students of two other schools are sent for lunch in batches so as to accommodate them in the little space available. The students have been limited to their classrooms and do not step out of the building even during lunch.” said another teacher and the deputy in charge of the CMHS.
“We were walking into the school yesterday when we witnessed that some officials had arrived in the area and were performing a pooja,” said a grade 10 student, Siraj. An activist, Syed Bilal who was present during the protest said, “The government makes rules to ensure playgrounds for students, but does not implement it themselves.”
“We are only demanding that the land alloted to the schools be given back to us and the promises made during the construction and reallocation of the schools be fulfilled,” said one of the headmasters from the schools, who did not want to be quoted..
When Siasat.com contacted HMRL’s Public Relations Officer Mr. Krishnanand, he denied allegations, and said that metro rail’s officers had visited the area for an inspection and no such activity had taken place. When questioned about the pooja on-site, he said, “That was for another purpose,” and excused himself from further questions.