It is not often that you exchange letters with the biggest cricket star in India. And not often does it happen that you are lucky enough to get a response too.
Students from a high school at a remote village in West Bengal were pleasantly surprised when cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar responded to their plea and sanctioned Rs 76 lakh for their village school. Located around 45 kilometres from Midnapore town, Swarnamoyi Sasmal Sikhsa Niketan was in very dilapidated condition and required urgent repairing and infrastructure upgradation.
But due to acute scarcity of funds, this 50 year old school had remained unattended for long. Located in Narayangarh constituency, just off the NH-6 in the once Maoist infested West Midnapore district, the school caters to over 900 students including several girls. With crumbling infrastructure, large portions of the school had even become dangerous to conduct classes.
Authorities had previously approached the local MP for assistance but with no success. Drawing a blank from all quarters after running from door to door, headmaster Uttamkumar Mohanty finally looked up on the internet for various government schemes that might be of any help for his school that was falling apart.
Mohanty’s frantic searches led him to the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme, under which Rajya Sabha MPs do not have any territorial limitations to provide financial assistance. Bolstered by the information, the headmaster took a chance and wrote a letter to the Sachin who is now a Rajya Sabha MP.
In his letter, the headmaster informed Tendulkar of the need to build a girls common room, library and a laboratory.
“I urged a lot of people for funds and after a point I got frustrated and even scanned the internet for options. I learned how to approach the Rajya Sabha MPs for funds. I got Sachin’s address and wrote a letter to him and provided all the documents along with it. After being convinced he allotted the money for our school,” says a visibly happy Mohanty, who still can’t believe that their efforts have borne fruits.
Mohanty had written to the former cricketer in 2013, and six months later, they were in for a surprise when a sanctioning memo addressed to the school was received from Sachin. It said that money was in the process of being released from Tendulkar’s MPLAD’s fund.
After the memo arrived, school authorities approached the District Magistrate who then took up the matter and furthered the process of sanctioning the money. A black board placed outside the under-construction new building stands tall mentioning that the current development work was with the help of funds provided by Sachin Tendulkar’s MPLAD scheme.
As a mark of gratitude, the school plans to invite Tendulkar for the inauguration of its new facilities, which they hope will be soon. More than seventy five percent of the money has already arrived and work is on in full swing. Students too can’t are excited to see their new school building coming up. Says Ishita Singh, a class eight student, “Construction of this building was necessary as it will enable proper distribution of classes. We really hope Sachin sir comes to our school in the future.”
In the past, Sachin has received a lot of flak for not being vocal enough in his political career as an MP. But with his masterstroke, he has once again hit his critics out for a boundary!