New Delhi RTE public hearing gives new hope to villagers

Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

As a bunch of enthusistic villagers gathered at a courtyard in Badarpur Khada on Tuesday evening under a dimly lit shade, not many could believe that the residents of this 250-year-old village still live in the dark ages, literally. Just 35 km north-east of the Supreme Court, this village still doesn’t have electricity connection.

What’s more, the children of the village don’t have a school to go or a dispensary to access healthcare facilities. “I hope things will change soon,” said Supreme Court judge Mukundam K. Sharma, who spent an hour listening to the the villagers’ grievances at a public hearing on implementation of Right To Education Act (RTE).

Kailash Satyarathi of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) said 150 public hearings are being conducted across the country to find whether the RTE Act is actually implemented or not. “We are told that the law is only on paper,” he said, while explaining that the aim to take the Supreme Court judges to people was to make them see the ground situation.

Once the public hearings will get over by the end of September, the BBA will be filing a petition on non-implementation of RTE in the apex court. “The meeting showed that the law has not even reached Delhi. The government’s tall claims about RTE success are a hogwash,” Satyarathi said. The nearest primary school at Badarpur Khadar is 4 km away and that too in Uttar Pradesh.

“When we take our children for admission, the school asks for residence proof certificate, saying that we are inhabitants of Uttar Pradesh,” said Asgar Ali, a villager. So many children prefer to look after the cattle instead of going to school. “Char meel ja kar padhna namumkin hai (It is impossible to travel so much every day.