Kalaburagi (Karnataka), Nov 18 () A Lingayat seer has embarked on a door-to-door campaign to raise funds for a school building in Ghattaraga village on the banks of river Bhima near Afzalpur in this district.
Dr Shivananda Mahaswami, attached to Sonnda Mutt, has taken a lead to collect funds for the school by knocking every door.
The present high school building is on the verge of collapse.
Though the ruling BJP government has released funds for rebuilding, but as the land belongs to the Muzrai department, the construction is not allowed. Though the villagers tried to bring this technical impediment to the notice of authorities on many occasions, their problem was not addressed.
According to the villagers, they had planned a procession to meet the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, when he recently visited Kalaburagi. But the district administration assured them of looking into the matter and got the procession plans cancelled. However, later, they conveniently forgot the matter.
Later, the villagers approached Dr Mahaswami with the same request which he readily accepted and started the “Akshara Jolige” campaign urging people to donate for knowledge.
Dr Mahaswamy has been visiting houses of people in the region with the villagers. The people cutting across the lines of castes and religion are welcoming swamiji and donating whatever they can after offering him pada pooja (feet worship of guru).
The villagers explained that through this initiative more than Rs 25 lakh had been collected. Local Congress MLA M.Y. Patil had agreed to donate one acre of land and many have come forward to offer donations.
The campaign will be run for two more days and it is aimed to collect Rs 60 lakh donations. The villagers are also organizing religious programmes to collect funds.
Dr Mahaswamiji stated that the initiative aims at purchasing a total of five acres of land. The villagers plan to build a school campus on three acres and two acres will be handed over to the Revenue department for construction of other buildings.
The present school building is located in the jurisdiction of Muzrai department and they are not allowing construction of new buildings. The children are facing problems in learning in a dilapidated building, hence donations are collected from devotees, swamji explained.
Ghattaraga village has no government land and land needs to be purchased from private parties. Kalaburagi Deputy Director for Public Instruction (DDPI) stated that there is no provision to purchase land for schools. If anyone hands over the land, the schools will be named after them.
At a time when disturbing incidents are being reported from across the state, the initiative by all villagers under the leadership of seer is being appreciated.