Nagpur, Mar 30: Nagpur, Mar 30: It may sound strange and unbelievable but it is 100 per cent true. A village situated barely 40 km from Nagpur, the Second Capital of Maharashtra considered to be the most advance state in India, received its first State Transport bus on March 27, 2016, 65 years after independence!
People expressed their happiness and joy as the Red Bus wheeled into their village surrounded by forest and hills on Sunday. They danced with happiness and welcomed the bus and its crew.
With a population of 400 residing in 100 houses Khairi Sita is a tribal village. The people were so happy that they went three km to Adegaon to welcome the bus to their village.
Khairi Sita is situated at the back side of Fun & Food 15 km from Shivasavanga village. There is an all weather pucca road meandering through the picturesque ambience of hills, hillocks and green forest. The village has a two-teacher school upto third standard. The village is 25 per cent under the poverty line. The students have to go to Adegaon for higher education.
Over 40 children of the village are studying in 10th standard and have to go to Adegaon to attend school. Five girls go to a college at Shivasavanga village. They had to walk the distance from Adegaon to Khairi Sita in absence of a regular bus service. This instilled a feeling of insecurity in them. This resulted in reduction of number of girl students going to higher schooling.
The increasing drop out of girl students caused worry for their parents too. At this juncture came forward Bhimrao Khandate, who belonged to the same village. He is presently working at Amravati as Dy Commissioner of caste certificate verification committee. He took up the responsibility to provide the facility of bus service to the village and commuting students.
Khandate completed his education upto 10th standard from Kondhali, 10 km away from his village where he stayed in a hostel. For further education he shifted to Nagpur and obtained a degree. Later he joined the TISS Mumbai to complete his post-graduation in Urban and Rural Community Development.
But not all have such strong urge and tenacity to complete their education like Bhimrao Khandate. He did not stop at that. “I wanted to fulfill my obligation to my village and my people”, he said and decided to end their woes by providing a facility of bus service.
When the former commissioner of Social Justice Department Ranjitsingh Deol became the vice-president of managing director of Maharashtra State Transport Corporation, Khandate grabbed the opportunity to rush to the rescue of these villagers. He contacted Deol and urged him to start a regular bus service to Khairi Sita village to facilitate school going of the children. Deol accepted his suggestion and gave orders to concerned officers.
Thus began the ST bus service to this remote village after 65 years of independence! The villagers were very happy and organized a function in their village to welcome the bus. Senior ST Officers and social welfare officers were present on the occasion.