Never before has a city demolished old buildings to make way for an urban forest. Never before has technology been used in the seat allocation as per the Right to Education Act (RTE), so efficiently that no seat got wasted and thousands of poor children got admitted to the best schools in the city. Not many cities in our country have been so thoughtful and respectful of its elders to create more than fifty community centers especially for them.
One individual who deserves credit for these achievements is Raipur’s District Collector, OP Choudhary. One remarkable project after the other, he has been leading the young city of Raipur to create new benchmarks in urban development.
And now comes yet another remarkable project from his anvil – Nalanda Parisar, a dedicated learning zone for the youth of the city.
Nalanda Parisar is a sprawling six-acre campus for the youth. Equipped with a library, high-speed internet and computers, an e-library, a basketball court, a cafeteria, an ATM, a stationery shop, the campus will function 24/7.
The library is a repository of one crore books, a large chunk of which were collected through a book donation drive called ‘Pusthak Daan’. The learning zones can seat over 1,700 students at a time.
Over and above all these facilities, Nalanda Parisar is an eco-zone with a growing green cover, man-made lakes and open-air reading zones.
The place has been crafted with care to give the student community an encouraging learning environment.
Choudhary recalls how, as a young IAS aspirant, he was mesmerised by the environment in Delhi where learning never stops. “We were reading day and night, discussing with fellow students, deriving inspiration from each other to learn and excel. Such an environment is not available for students in smaller cities. I wanted to create this opportunity for the youth of my city by creating a learning and nurturing hub for the youth, in the lap of nature. That’s how the idea of Nalanda Parisar was born,” shares Choudhary.
He presented this idea to the Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh, Dr Raman Singh, who offered him great encouragement and support. The project was allotted a total of 18 crores through the District Mineral Society Fund and the Environment Conservation Board.
The work on the project started just ten months ago, and today it stands completed, one month ahead of its deadline – another testimony to the drive with which the Collector and his team work.
On June 1, 2018, the Chief Minister inaugurated Nalanda Parisar. It is strategically located, close to many reputed higher education institutions of the city like IIM, AIIMS, NIT and Raipur University.
Students can visit the office and register themselves by paying a refundable security deposit of Rs 2,500. The monthly membership fee for BPL students is Rs 200 and Rs 500 for others. The campus is also open for public every day between 4 pm and 6 pm to visit and appraise the facilities.
Choudhary believes that this facility will benefit the entire student community of the city, not just today but for many years to come.
District Collector OP Choudhary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)