Villagers convert a primary school building set up under SSA into a temple

What did the residents of Govind Tanda in the Humnabad taluk do when a government primary school closed down due lack of students? They converted the unused building, built under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in 2010, into a temple and mutt.

The hamlet has had a school for more than two decades. But the old building was crumbling and the school management committee made a request for a new structure. The new building was completed in two years and the school was expected to shift there. But the school was closed down after the number of children dropped to less than 10. “We never had a chance to move into the new building,” an Education Department official said.

Some residents quickly moved in to set up the Shiva Mahadev Mandir and Sri Parameshwar Maharaj Samsthan Math in the new building.

Some Govind Tanda residents insisted that the building was not a school. “This is where Basamma, a spiritual Guru from Mysore, stayed for decades and died,” said Lakshmi Bai. “We have expanded the building and added new rooms over the years.”

Not all villagers think alike. “We need a school in the village. If the residents feel the need for a temple, they should build it at a different place,” Basavaraj Naik said.

Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer, issued notice on Thursday to the encroachers asking them to provide documents to prove their claim. He said he would order an inquiry. “If we find that the building was constructed by the Education Department, we will take possession of it. We will also act against those involved in the encroachment of public property.”

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