US students giving facelift to Gujarat’s Chharanagar

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Ahmedabad: Chharanagar is all set to get a facelift with 15 American students from Ball State University, Indiana, presenting certain affordable amenities to its residents as part of their academic project. The students will also be presenting certain other feasible plans, so that they could be presented to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for implementation.

Prof. Nihal Pereira, explaining why Chharanagar was chosen over other areas in Ahmedabad, said: “We have always worked with people, who create their own spaces in order to understand their planning methodologies, which always take place in a people-friendly manner. After my first visit to Chharanagar and learning about its history, I was inclined towards studying it.”

These students have been working under Pereira’s guidance towards mapping social, economic, cultural and physical aspects of Chharanagar and its people from January 13 to end of February. Pereira and his students have been working for communities, who are not included in mainstream life.

Students have been divided into three teams, namely the story telling team which is working on Chharas and the students’ experience with them; another team working towards developing feasible proposals in the area by AMC; and the third team working on smaller projects that can be implemented by the students themselves within the next three weeks, said Pereira.

Installing streetlights made from recyclable materials, tree plantation and planting algae in one of the filthiest water bodies of Chharanagar are a few actions students are likely to take up on their own within the next three weeks.

Ideas such as redeveloping heritage structures, widening and strengthening of roads, restoring heritage culture, health and sanitation and education are proposals students are still working on.

Students are also working towards developing a detailed map of Chharanagar, which is non-existent as of now and will present it to the residents on February 19 to get their feedback by way of suggestions, objections and ideas.

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