Children in Tarandul village located in southwest Chhattisgarh, now go to a school that is made out of bamboo. While till 2014 the only school in the Maoist-affected village had a primary status, students here are slowly becoming more aware of the importance of education. But why bamboo? Because Maoists in the area have “disallowed” the use of concrete for any construction activities as those building can then act as camps for security forces. Moreover, many of the villages in the region are so remote that it is difficult to transport bricks and mortar there. But thanks to an initiative taken by the central government in 2013, education in the tribal village didn’t come to a standstill in the absence of a concrete school building.
The bamboo-structure school is a part of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
RMSA was launched in 2009 and is meant to work for the development of secondary education in public schools across India. Tarandul is one of the many villages in five districts of the tribal-dominated Bastar division where such Bamboo school have come up. Chhattisgarh has recognised 65 panchayats in Bastar zone which have decided to build bamboo-structure schools. Currently, there are 43 bamboo schools in the area.
“From 2009 to 2012, the public works department issued about a dozen tenders to build concrete building structures, but none came forward because of the Maoist menace. The insurgents destroyed 200 structures in Bastar division over the past few years,” Ajay Mahapatra, additional project officer of the RMSA told Hindustan Times.
He added that while concrete schools cost Rs. 49.75 lakh in construction, bamboo schools cost Rs. 48.07 lakh and take about 15-20 days to complete. The schools are made in a way that they are fire proof and are chemically treated against termite. Each building has toilets, four rooms and a kitchen.