HUBLI: Residents of Dombarahalli hamlet in Koppal district now repent their decision to support the family welfare programme (FWP) for the past two decades.
They fear the village may lose basic infrastructure due to its shrinking population — from 1081 in 2005, it has dropped to 990 in 2014. The government school recently cut back classes from the 8th to 6th and reduced the number of teachers from six to two.
Resident of the village and former chairman of the Koppal Agricultural Produce Market Committee Krishnareddy Galabi said population control has become a curse. “We fought hard for decades to get an anganwadi and got it just 8 months ago. Officials would say we didn’t have enough kids to justify an anganwadi.” He’s apprehensive the government may close it down as the population has dipped.
Gram panchayat member Devareddy Matra said there were only 10 students in classes 7 and 8 at the beginning of the current academic year. “Despite many requests, the education department decided to reduce the number of teachers from six to two. Angered by this decision, we appealed for the closure of both classes and the department did it immediately,” he said.
Another resident Naganagouda Nandanagoudra said family welfare programme efforts were initiated in 1991-92. “We, a group of youths, estimated the population then was around 600, and the available agriculture land was about 500 acres. With the aim of making life better for the next generation, we resolved to have not more than two children, irrespective of gender. We approached each household with statistics and the idea of making ours a model village. Everyone assured us they’d do it.,” he said.
Somareddy Alavandi, a journalist, urged ministers who visit China to study population control measures to visit his village. “The government, which is supposed to encourage us with incentives, should review the teacher-student ratio in the context of Dombarahalli.”
Koppal DDPI A Shyamsundar said as per norms, the department has to maintain a teacher-student ratio of 1:30. “I’ve taken charge as Koppal DDPI recently and unaware of this particular issue. I’ll visit the village soon and try to solve the problem.”
Currently, 60 students study in the local higher primary school which has two teachers. Villagers are convincing parents of about 20 students in private schools of neighbouring Kataraki and Koppal to readmit their kids in local school. It may be converted as a lower primary school in the near future.