GANDHI FOR NAMESAKE, OPERATES AS MAFIA

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GANDHI FOR NAMESAKE, OPERATES AS MAFIA

            Jagdish Gandhi is the founding manager of City Montessori School in Lucknow which enrolls more than fifty five thousand students in its 18 branches. This school has been listed in Guinness book of world records for highest enrollment of students. The school has been awarded UNESCO prize for peace education for promoting the values of peace and tolerance. Jagdish Gandhi is also a recipient of Uttar Pradesh government’s top honour Yash Bharti. But Jagdish Gandhi has refused to admit a single student from the disadvantaged category or weaker section for the last three years under section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act, 2009, for free education from classes I to VIII, whose admission is ordered by District Magistrate or Basic Shiksha Adhikari. 18 children in academic year 2015-16, 55 children in 2016-17 and 296 children in 2017-18 were denied admission by Jagdish Gandhi violating their fundamental right. 13 children belonging to Valmiki community were admitted in the Indira Nagar branch of CMS due to a High Court order in 2015-16 after a case which took several months.

            Recently under the Right to Information Act 2005 the Housing and Development Board of the UP government revealed that the building of Indira Nagar branch of CMS has been built without permission, the land use is still residential, thereby precluding the possibility of any commercial activity here, and most shockingly, that there is a demolition order against the school building. The school building has been erected by combining two adjoining plots A-823 and A-903. Whereas the manager of CMS had bought the plot A-903, he took A-823 on rent but without the permission of owner R.B. Pathak, retired IAS, he constructed the school building. The owner complained to Commissioner, Housing and Development Board, but to no avail.

            The question that now arises is how can a school be run from an illegal building? The school doesn’t even have a playing field which is mandatory for seeking recognition. What will happen to the future of children studying in this school if the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations decides to withdraw the ICSE affiliation of the school?

            The demolition order of A-823 dates back to 1996 whereas the demolition order of A-903 is of 2015.  Once the authorities tried to implement the order but as it was during school hours the manager made all the children sit in front of the demolition squad. The complicity of school manager and government officials is quite obvious as no other attempt was made in the last 21 years in non-school hours or on a vacation, which would have been the appropriate time to demolish it.

            Now that the information about demolition orders is out, Jagdish Gandhi went to the High Court on 4 January, 2018 and obtained a stay order against demolition making a plea that future of 1,700 children studying upto Intermediate level and hundreds of employees and teachers is at stake. He urged the court to give a direction for shifting of the school rather than demolishing its building. The court has been requested not to take a harsh action.

            Jagdish Gandhi must be asked whether only rich children have a future? What about the future of those children whose admission he has denied under the RTE Act for the last three years? Did he not feel that he was being harsh on those children? It is significant that in HC he claims school enrollment as 1,700 whereas in a reply from Fire department in response to a query under the RTI Act, the school has reported an enrollment of merely 600 children. HC has been told that school runs till Intermediate or class XII where it merely has a ICSE affiliation, which is meant for class X.

            The CISCE website shows recognition to only 12 of the 18 CMS branches, which implies that 6 of its branches are being run without recognition. Under the RTE Act the authorities should impose fine on these branches.

            Jagdish Gandhi has a strategy to retain only ‘bright’ kids beyond class VIII so that his school delivers a good performance in Board examinations. A girl in the Aliganj branch wanted to choose Mathematics as a subject in class IX. However, because of her low scores in class VIII she was allowed to select only Commerce with Hindi. She left CMS and is today pursuing the subject of her choice, Mathematics, in Delhi Public School.

            The CMS charges fees for two months together. For parents from lower middle class background it becomes really difficult to make two ends meet. The school charges fees for vacation months much in advance. It is a well oiled money making machine.

            The CMS offers concession in fees to children of its teachers but doesn’t offer the same concession to its lower level employees like maids, sanitation workers, rickshaw pullers who bring children to school, etc. It is an open secret that Jagdish Gandhi offers concession in fees to children of IAS officers, politicians in high places, judges and most importantly journalists. This is how he manipulates his way through the system and operates by blatantly violating various rules and laws. He manages to keep himself in the good books of the chief minister of the day, irrespective of political affiliation. Hence no official, politician or judge takes action against him.

By Sandeep Pandey

A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016

Ph: 0522 4242830, Mobile: 9415022772

e-mail: ashaashram@yahoo.com

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