West Bengal

The school that Sachin helped build

Print edition : July 08, 2016

The new block of the school in Paschim Medinipur district coming up with the MPLADS funds of Sachin Tendulkar. Photo: PARTHA MUKHERJEE

FOR 10 years Uttamkumar Mohanti, headmaster of Gobindapur Makrampur Swarnamoyee Sasmal Sikshaniketan (GMSSS) school in West Bengal’s Pashchim Medinipur district, had been going from pillar to post in search of funds for a new school building. The existing building was in a state of disrepair and was not enough to accommodate the 1,000-odd students. His pleas received no response either from the former Left Front government or from the Trinamool Congress government. But when all hope seemed lost, aid came from a most unexpected quarter. The Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, a member of the Rajya Sabha, upon receiving a prayer from Mohanti, agreed to extend Rs.76,21,000 from his MPLADS (Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) fund for the construction of a new building with a library, a laboratory and a girls’ common room for the school.

“From 2003, ever since I came to this school, I felt it was extremely urgent to develop the infrastructure here for the sake of the students, as for the past few years the building has been on the verge of collapse. After receiving no help from any quarter, in desperation I wrote to the Hon’ble MP, Sachin Tendulkar. I found out the details of where to write from the Internet, prepared my prayer, detailing the needs of the school and wrote to him in March 2013,” Mohanti told Frontline. “I have never had the opportunity to meet him or to talk to him, but my impression of him made me think that he would understand my problem and come to my aid,” said Mohanti.

A year later, in August 2014, a letter arrived from the office of Sachin Tendulkar saying that the release of funds for the school project had been recommended to the District Collector of Mumbai, who in turn, had processed the said recommendation to the District Collector of Pashchim Medinipur. “Accordingly, you are requested to please contact the Hon’ble Collector exercising jurisdiction in your area and submit to him the details of the aforesaid project and the estimate of the funds required by you (along with all the necessary supporting documents and particulars)…,” the letter to Mohanti stated. Mohanti in his letter to Tendulkar had not given any estimate of the expenditure required for the construction.

The school headmaster submitted his meticulously calculated estimate of Rs.76,21,000 to the District Magistrate in September 2014. When months went by without a response, a slightly disheartened Mohanti once again wrote to the office of Sachin Tendulkar in April 2015. “Within a few days, a call came from Tendulkar Sir’s secretary to tell me that the money has been credited to this particular bank and the money will be disbursed for the project in three instalments. We were overwhelmed, because for many years, due to various reasons, including political, our school was neglected. We are truly indebted to Sachin Tendulkar for coming to our rescue,” said Mohanti.

The school building is expected to be completed by August this year, and it is Mohanti’s wish that Tendulkar inaugurate the building. “If he could come here for just five minutes and see how much we have benefited from his generosity, we would be very grateful.”

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay