STOP taking land from a 90 year old GIRLS SCHOOL

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  • Problem

STOP taking land belonging to one of the oldest “All GIRLS” school

A school that was stared in the pre-Independence era, Good Shepherd Convent is one of the oldest “all girls” school. Along with the Presentation Convent group, which is the alma matter of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu , Amma, Late Dr. J Jayalalitha, Good Shepherd is yet another glorious school that has laid the foundation for many strong and successful women of today. It is an institution that has been dedicated to providing education and empowerment to millions of girls irrespective of religion, caste or social status even before RTE or any other women empowerment terms became popular as it is today. This glorious institution now finds itself in a compromised situation with the CMRL wanting to acquire portions of the land belonging to the school to bring up the Nungambakkam Metro station. For those like us who have had the good fortune of shaping our formative years in this school, what brings pride to our hearts is the beautiful campus, lined with trees providing a very serene and peaceful atmosphere within even though it is situated in the midst of an extremely busy and commercial neighbourhood. One thing that stands out about Good Shepherd is the playground and sports field that encouraged all the girls to participate in sports, be physically fit, active and allowed many to excel in sports as a career. I do not think there is any other ALL GIRLS SCHOOL in this city that has encouraged and nurtured sports like our school has. And sadly it is this playground, along with the junior school section where toddlers from Classes 1-5 are tutored and nurtured, that the Metro Rail project wants to acquire.

Admitted that this is not an acknowledged heritage or monumental site but what can be more monumental and prestigious than a 90 year old school that has dedicated itself to educating and empowering girls across all strata of society in a very secular and disciplined manner, an institution that houses a home for women of the weaker society and gives them employment in their in-house stitching unit, an institution that NEVER THOUGHT that GIRLS didn’t need to play sports and hence built and maintained one of the best sports grounds any school can boast of.
If anything in the city needs to be saved and preserved, it is this institution with its glorious past and promising future.

It is surprising that the CMRL project chose a not for profit institution like Good Shepherd school instead of the many many “PROFIT EARNING” commercial sites and government land (railway quarters for senior officers, Meteorology department, DPI...). Would it be wrong to presume that they thought a school wouldn’t put up a fight or protest like other commercial establishments that they could have easily acquired? Or is it that the CMRL didn’t want to rub shoulders with the bureaucratic babus of the various government departments? Understandable that the law prescribes that acquisition is done with minimal public inconvenience, but this choice of Good Shepherd is appalling because it is an obstruction to the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO EDUCATION of the children who are currently studying there.
Is it that CMRL would have to spend more money in either acquiring or fighting legal battles against commercial establishments that prompted them to chose this venue?
If so, we would like some answers:
1. Where will students of Class 1-5 be suddenly schooled?
2. What will happen to children who have been training for their 10th and 12th boards? Sudden disruption can be very costly to them.
3. Where will the girls have their PT period and sports practice?
4. How safe will it be for students to study in the adjoining buildings with metro work happening so close? Don’t we all remember how ANNA SALAI caved in suddenly due to the Metro work?
5. What are the safety measures that Metro Rail officials will undertake to ensure that no child is hurt or harmed during this entire period.
6. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, can the CMRL officials guarantee that no single metro rail worker will try to misbehave or sexually harrass the vulnerable and innocent young minor girls who chose to continue their education in their school?

The government knows best on doing the right thing for the city and hence we sincerely believe that you will intervene and change the Metro Rail plan to save our school. Saving the oldest Girls school of the city and giving 2000 plus children their right to education is more noble even if it means spending just A few thousand rupees extra in this project to change the proposed route or plan.

Solution
Change the proposed plan and acquire commercial complexes in the vicinity or use land allocated for government housing quarters which is right next door



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