After topping the Board exams in 2011, Gopal Bahadur knew he had many options but he wanted to sit for IIT entrance and then become an IAS officer. When his family whose main source of income was through labour work got to know about it, they told him that they couldn’t afford that. That is when Gopal decided to meet the then collector of Dantewada, Om Prakash Chaudhary. Little did Gopal know that this little meeting was going to change his life forever? The officer admitted him into a programme named “Choo lo Aasmaan”, in which the students of class 11 and 12 who want to prepare for Engineering and Medical exams could gain free coaching, proper residential campus, and free food. Gopal is one among the 135 boys, the administration has brought from the remote areas of Dantewada to the campus, where they are coached by top teachers from renowned Kota vision classes. This is not the only initiative he has started since he has taken over. There is a list of other changes he has brought to the state of Chhatisgarh.
O.P Chaudhary has changed the face of Dantewada (Chhatisgarh) from an underdeveloped district into a progressive and vibrant one while also planning to turn it into an education hub for tribal kids. IAS Om Prakash Chaudhary is a 2005 batch IAS officer, also the first IAS officer from Chhatisgarh. He was the collector of Dantewada which is Left Wing extremism affected area. His initiatives are non-conventional and effective. Despite the lack of funds, he has proved that government schemes do function by pooling the funds using MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), BRGF (Backward Regions Grant Funds), Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan and countless other things. Here is a list of other initiatives this man has brought into force,
1. Chhoo lo Aasman: This is the initiative that had been discussed earlier in the article. It is a strategy for Science students, wherein students from different parts of Dantewada are brought to district headquarters and are given post classroom special tutorials for entrance examinations.
2. Education Clusters and Shiksha Savari Yojana: Dantewada had the highest dropout rate at the stage of the pre-matric level. This happened due to the distance of the high schools and poor transportation facilities. Educational Clusters were created by choosing important junctions in the district and providing residential facilities to children from 9th to 12th standard. Such residential facilities helped in increasing the enrollment. Additionally, the students getting enrolled in class 9th were provided bicycles under ‘Shiksha Savari Yojana’, a scheme initiated only in Dantewada District supported by IAP fund. As a result, the dropout rate among school children decreased from 50% to 13% in just 2 years (2011-2013). This project is considered among top 100 most innovative projects throughout the world, by KPMG.
3. Nanhey Parindey: It was launched to ensure the admission of deprived children in the quality schools like Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sainik Schools etc. These schools are providing an opportunity for the education of a child without any fee. But unfortunately, the underprivileged children could not get through the entrance examinations of such schools. To tackle this issue, project ‘NANNEY PARINDEY’ has been started, under which residential facilities were given to 105 children from interior villages belonging to the marginalized background and were provided special coaching for Navodaya and Sainik School entrance examination with 5th class regular schooling.
For all his herculean efforts to achieve this feat, in which he has also risked his life quite a many times, he got the well deserved Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Public Administration for 2011-12 Currently, he is the collector of Raipur and has started several developmental projects there. A normal Indian family does crib about how the administration does not put any effort into the development of the country and do not fulfill their responsibilities but there are people like O.P Chaudhary who actually dutifully handle their responsibilities and try their level best to contribute in the development of the country. Such people deserve all the applaud and respect.