While hearing a public-interest petition on the plight of students in Khirkhindi—close to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s native village of Dare, which has two helipads but lacks basic infrastructure—the Bombay High Court has said the court does not mind some villages having helipads but wants them to have roads so that children can go to school.
“Villages have two helipads, but not roads or bridges. We don’t mind helipads in some villages, but at the same time we also want to see roads for children to go to school or college, finish their education and help society,” Justice Prasanna Varale said on Thursday.
“We only want the state government to take positive steps and do whatever is possible and find a solution,” added the bench also comprising Justice Shrikant Kulkarni.
The Indian Express on June 25 reported that Dare, in Satara district, had two helipads but lacked proper education and health facilities. There are 104 villages along the Koyna river on the foothills of the Sahyadri hills. The area is skirted by the forest reserve on one side and Koyna river on the other. Since road connectivity is poor, residents have to cross the river to access education and health facilities. They have to cover a lot of distance by road and are dependent mainly on boats to cross the river. Students are given holidays in summer, when the Koyna river is dry and no water transport is available.
Subscriber Only Stories
Amicus curiae Sanjeev Kadam submitted that Shinde had made available a motorboat for children to cross the river, but it was sort of a temporary measure.
The court directed the chief secretary to hold a meeting of state government departments on the issue and submit a report along with an affidavit by August 30.
The residents are hopeful that their lives will change now that Shinde has been sworn in as chief minister, after 40 Shiv Sena MLAs deserted former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to rally behind him. Thackeray had to step down as chief minister as the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance lost its majority in the Assembly. Shinde came to power with BJP support.