ALAPPUZHA: Arjun Santhosh, who had staged a novel protest against the delay in starting the work of the Perumbalam-Panavally bridge by swimming 10 days on the trot to his school located three km away, has been granted admission to the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) swimming academy.
The Laxmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram, has invited the 14-year-old to join the academy. According to Santhosh, father of Arjun, SAI authorities had requested him to ensure Arjun’s relocation to Kariavattom to commence training.
“KPM High School, where Arjun is a Class IX student, has issued the transfer certificate on Saturday. He will join MV HSS, Kariavattom, and will begin training at the academy on Monday. The principal invited Arjun to acadmey after coming to know of the swimming agitation,” said Santhosh.
Earlier, after Arjun’s novel protest made headlines, Aroor MLA A M Arif, intervened and said he would do chip in to realise the two decade-long demand for the 700m bridge.
Express had carried a report on Arjun’s protest. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had allocated `100 crore for the construction of the bridge in the state budget. The boat service run by Kerala Water Transport Department (KWTD) was the only mode of transport available to Arjun to reach the school. He has been availing the service from Class I. On some days, the KWTD-run boat service would encounter a technical glitch forcing the students to rely on country boats to reach the mainland. It was a risky affair since majority of the students did not know swimming and the tightly packed boats doubled the danger factor.
Several pleas to build bridge fell into deaf ears, prompting Arjun, who had won several prizes in school-level aquatic competitions, to launch the agitation.