Bihar government to develop Champaran as ‘Gandhi Circuit’

January 23rd, 2009 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 23 (IANS) The Bihar government plans to develop the state’s Champaran district, where Mahatma Gandhi launched his satyagraha movement against the British rule 92 years ago, as a ‘Gandhi Circuit’ to attract tourists, particularly foreigners. The state government, with the help of the central government, would develop a Gandhi Circuit in Champaran, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced, while visiting the places associated with Gandhi in Champaran Thursday during his ongoing ‘Vikas Yatra’ (Development March).

Kumar said that all places associated with Gandhi during his satyagraha movement in Champaran would be developed under an ambitious plan. The state government will prepare a comprehensive plan and seek the centre’s help to implement the project, he added.

The state government had already sent a proposal to the centre for setting up a national university named after Mahatma Gandhi.

Ironically, Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of providing education with a difference to the poorest of the poor is dying in West Champaran district, with the schools set up by him in shambles. Successive state governments have allowed the schools to languish, and even the centre has not made any attempt to revive them.

The chief minister has drawn up plans for the revival of Gandhi’s basic schools as part of the Common School System (CSS) that the state government wants to implement, but the project has so far remained on paper.

The basic schools were set up by Gandhi to impart basic education to boys and girls in rural areas. They were also meant to provide vocational training in spinning, carpentry, farming, weaving and leatherwork so that people could live with self-respect and dignity.

The first ‘Buniyadi Vidyalaya’ or basic school was set up by Gandhi in 1939 at Brindavan in West Champaran district. Later, he set up more such schools, followed by other basic schools on the lines of the Buniyadi Vidyalaya.

A few years ago, the Supreme Court took serious note of the plight of the basic schools in West Champaran district and issued notices to the central government, the state government, the district administration and the National Human Rights Commission to ensure proper functioning of the schools and preservation of the Gandhian heritage.

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