Going An Extra Mile: 70-Seater Boat Arranged For Kerala Girl To Attend Exam

The boat waited for her to finish her exams and dropped her back home on both days.

A 70-seater boat made a round trip from Alappuzha to Kottayam in Kerala, amid the Covid-19 lockdown, because they had to ferry one passenger: a 17-year-old-girl going to give her Class 11 examinations.

Sandra Babu, a student of SNDP Higher Secondary School, Kanjiram, was almost sure that she will miss her Physics and Chemistry examinations, News18.com reports. But the Kerala State Water Transport Department went the extra mile, just so that Sandra could write her exams. The examinations for the two subjects were postponed when the state declared a lockdown. However, the state government has recently issued fresh dates for HSC examinations.

Daughter of daily wage workers, Sabu and Radhamani, Sandra stays at an islet near a water channel in Vembanad which is seven km from the main boat channel, reports News18.com. It would cost thousands of rupees to hire a boat to reach the mainland.

“I thought I would miss the examinations as I didn’t have the means to reach my school. But when I contacted the SWTD office, they understood my situation and promised to send a boat. I’m really proud of SWTD and I don’t know how to share my happiness,” Sandra told The Times of India.

Braving the bad weather, a 70-seater boat with five member crew including the driver, a srank (navigator), a boat master and two lascars set out the next morning to make a round trip from MM block in Alappuzha to Kottayam’s Kanjiram on Friday and Saturday, TOI report said. Sandra was charged a total fare of Rs 18 for a round trip, while the charges for one side trip itself would cost a whopping Rs 4,000. The boat waited for her to finish her exams and dropped her back home on both days.

Sandra’s story brings to memory the incident in Japan where the train service plied twice a day just for a single student.

Shaji V Nair, Director of KSWTD says he was reminded of the incident when he came to know about Sandra. But there is a more important and personal reason for him to decide to help the 17-year-old girl. “My daughter is also a plus one student. A ‘no’, in these cases, is much more safe and easy. However, I thought of how it would affect a person’s life. So the department approached the higher authorities and a nod from minister AK Saseendran, it was made possible,” he told News18.com.