“We never felt so good,” said the cheerful girls.
On January 8, Tuesday, three children were waved off of their daily ordeal of reaching school forever. Shanti(12), Preeti (10) and Poonam in Class 8 were completely elated to reach home from school without getting their feet wet and tired arms due to rowing. Residents of Rahata village, which is about 120 km from Raipur, their only mode of transportation to and from school is makeshift tin-drum boats.
Earlier the children’s parents would use the empty oil tins, a few lengths of timber and ropes to make a one-person raft. Watching their struggle, Chhattisgarh IAS Officer Kiran Kaushal decided to step in and gifted them a motorboat and life jackets.
Because of Kaushal, the schoolgirls and their friends saw an inflated motorboat along the banks of a dam reservoir in Arajpuri village, waiting for them with two home guards to escort them home. The IAS officer was also present to wave them off.
While talking to TOI, Kushal said, “I went with my team to the village to hear the grievances of residents on Monday. They said they have to cross the reservoir of Kharkhara Dam on boats made of oil tins to reach Arajpuri village to buy grocery and for other daily needs.”
Also, when Kushal spoke to village elders, they informed her that the village couldn’t bear the expenses of having a motorboat and requested her for a proper rowboat instead. She agreed to this and promised them to replace it with brand-new fiberglass boats that will reach them in 15 days.