School for Pardhis struggles for funds
Pimpri: Chinchwad-based Punarutthan Samarasata Gurukulam is an NGO that works for the upliftment of children from Pardhi community which has been regarded as a criminal community for years together. The NGO runs a school for the children of this community. However, this school is currently facing an unprecedented financial crisis. Interestingly, this is happening even when the organisation is closely associated with the Sangh Parivar. Due to the serious financial crisis, the organisation was unable to pay electricity bills. Due to this, 329 students staying at the residential facility of the school are living in darkness for last 15 days.
Gurukulam is run by renowned social worker Girish Prabhune through crowdfunding and donations. Over 200 boys and 129 girls belonging to Pardhi community are currently studying in this residential facility. But as the organisation could not get government aid, it is entirely dependent on donations.
No government grant for the organisation
Prabhune added that former home minister RR Patil had asked them to send a proposal for grant. However, the proposal remained on paper after Patil’s death. He said that RSS is also planning to replicate similar projects elsewhere in India. He said that even after BJP government spending three years in power, the file for the grant has not been cleared.
The social work done by this organisation was appreciated by many stalwarts in the society. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat had visited this organisation in February 2016 and praised the work carried out by this organisation. This is a residential facility based on the ancient Gurukul education system. Besides academic, skill-based training is being provided to these students from the early age. Bhagwat had said that this model of education should be replicated all over India. After the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, the school was successful in getting government approval. But it is not getting any government aid till date. Due to financial crisis, the organisation could not pay electricity bills, property tax and could not clear the payment of teachers and staff for months.
The organisation needs Rs 1.75 lakh to pay salaries of staff members. It has to pay electricity bills of Rs 40, 000 per month. Since pending dues of electricity bills have crossed Rs one lakh, MSEDCL has disconnected the power supply. The PCMC has issued a final notice for the recovery of property tax of Rs 6 lakh. As a result of these pending dues, the founder of Gurukulam fears that the PCMC may seal the facility.
Besides Bhagwat, former president Pratibha Patil, Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde and renowned social worker Anna Hazare have also visited the facility in the past. Prabhune said, “There are currently 350 people in the Gurukulam. For food and other expenses of students and staff, we have to spend Rs 15,000 on a daily basis. Besides this, we have to spend Rs 2,000 on raw material required for skill development of the students on a daily basis. We expect philanthropic people from the society to come
forward to support the organisation.”
When asked about the plight of Gurukulam despite BJP being in power, leader of House in PCMC Eknath Pawar, said, “I am aware of the work of Gurukulam, I recently visited the school. I will do whatever is possible to help Gurukulam in its smooth functioning.”