Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

December 2007
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Education & Business

Beacon of Hope in the Islands
Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar Islands)

The Ummat Public Senior Secondary School has emerged as the symbol of struggle and beacon of hope for the people of Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  The school which was started in 1989 with 70 students has on its rolls 670 students by the Islands Islamic Foundation. It has two campuses which are ever humming with activity.

The School caters to the educational needs of all the communities in the forlorn islands which are situated in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.

The Ummat School was first set up in the timber block of the Jumma Masjid in Aberdeen Bazar in Port Blair on June 22, 1989.  The school kept growing with one class being added every year inasmuch as the timber block, despite extension, fell short of the needs. Lt. Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration was kind enough to donate 1,250 sq mts of land in the heart of the city. The Maulana Azad Foundation allocated a grant of Rs. 10 lakh which could fund the construction of nine rooms and a small hall. The school shifted to the new building in April 2003. As it entered high school stage, the school was affiliated to the CBSE in 2004. However, space again proved inadequate and we had to again approach the Lt. Governor.  Considering the school’s excellent academic record, the Administration allotted 10,000 sq. mts of land in Austinabad where six rooms of the new campus have been constructed.  However, the school is yet to be shifted to the Austinabad campus due to poor access by roads and lack of several other facilities. It is about three kilometers from the city centre. The local MP has promised to make a grant from MPLADS fund for the further construction and logistics. 

But the wooden building has been returned to the Jumma Masjid. Though the rooms are still insufficient, the school has kept up its onward march. The 10th standard results for the CBSE exams have produced 100 per cent passes with around 70 per cent securing first class in 2006 and 2007. The School has been permitted to add senior secondary sections in 2006. It has also built physics, chemistry and biology laboratories and computer section.  Its library has around 3400 books.  Of the 670 students, 54 per cent are boys and 46 per cent girls. The school also imparts religious instructions (deeniyath) to Muslims students and arrangements have been made for congregational prayers during school hours.

The Foundation still requires funds for construction of more rooms at its Austinabad campus and for continuous upgradation of facilities such as sports complex, computer lab, addition to library and laboratory. The resources in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are limited and we look towards the philanthropists on the mainland to strengthen the hands of the Foundation to serve the cause of education.

M. A. Ghani, President, Ummat Public School, Complex Middle Point, Port Blair-744101, Ph: 03192-232963, 237061. The donation could be sent by cheques or drafts favouring ‘Ummat Public Senior Secondary School, Port Blair’ at Complex Middle Point, Port Blair-744101, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Emu Farming is Lucrative Business

Emus are huge, flightless birds native to Australia. But they can be bred in any climate.

“Nowadays, farmers are being lured into emu farming. ‘It is a lucrative business proposition’, says one of the animal husbandry officials.

Two agencies in Bangalore, Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO), Hessarghatta, and Bengaluru Emu & Rabbit Farms (BERF), Hebbal, have several dozens of these birds and are engaged in promoting emu farming in Karnataka.

It’s a new trend in agro farming which promises high returns. “A pair of three month old chicks cost Rs. 18,300 and a six month old pair Rs. 25,300. After 18 month, these birds weigh about 60 kg and female emus start laying eggs. They lay up to 50 eggs per year and each egg weighs a kilo and costs Rs. 1,000,” says CPDO officials.

“Emu oil is used for treatment of burns, cuts, wounds and bruises. It’s a reliever for muscle and joint disorders,” says Prof. S. Subramanya of University of Agricultural Sciences.

There are two emu farms in Hyderabad and Kakinada. Ayub Khan, who has taken up emu farming on a commercial scale in Belgaum, has 50 emus on his half-acre farm. Emus have remarkable capacity to adapt to any climate. They drink plenty of water and are given a maize-based combination or ratite feed.