For students in Chilla Khadar, a village in Delhi, it is not easy job to reach their school. For them walking to school is a long and tiring option as the closest MCD school is an hour’s walk away. And hence, what they do is take a boat ride on the Yamuna to reach the school, where they study everyday for three hours. After covering almost 250 metres on the river, the children are dropped off near a pavement on the DND. From there, it is an half-hour walk to the school.
Children are content with taking a boat twice a day- to get to school and back. “If we don’t drop them by boat, they have to walk 2 km on a non-motorable road to reach DND, which would take half an hour. Whoever is free goes to drop them. In the afternoon, many children walk home because there’s no hurry,” 34-year-old Rajesh Sahini, a father of two boys was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. Around 8 am, students get on the wooden boat anchored on the banks, a few feet from her house. Sitting with their legs folded, the children are constantly reminded by the boatman not to move too much. Each boat can accommodate eight-ten girls, or five-six boys. From the DND, the children form a line and walk through a dusty stretch to the school.
Many want to opt for a more formal school near Mayur Vihar, however, a Delhi government education official said they are not sure if there is a school within a 3-km radius of the area. After Class 5, students shift to the government school at Samachar Apartments in Mayur Vihar. According to the Right to Education Act, primary school children (classes I-V) should not be studying in schools more than 1 km away, while the distance is 3 km for students of upper primary level (classes VI-VIII). After school, the students head for tuition near Ashok Nagar, which requires a 20-minute journey by boat. Without the boat, it would take them an hour. Parents too feel that as long as there is no complaints and their children are able to study, they have no problem.
Chilla Khadar, close to Mayur Vihar Phase I, has two boats for the 20-odd families, which, apart from ferrying children, are also used to travel to markets in Ashok Nagar.