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A unique village in Jharkhand where lanes are named after its most educated girls
Juri, a village in Jharkhand's East Singbhum district, has started a unique practice for promoting literacy among girls. The lanes of the village have been named after its most educated girls.

Sumita Bhattacharya, Baisakhi Gope, Mani Mala Sikdar and Sunita Gope might not be legends or political leaders, but they have lanes named after them in the Potka block of Juri village.

Juri, a dusty village around 150-km from the state's capital Ranchi, has adopted this unique practice to promote education among girls. The village with around 600 families has just a single government middle school with 5 teachers and 300 students.

Children of the village must travel 3 km to reach a high school and 30 km to reach a college.

The village committee picked up 23-year old Sumita Bhattacharya as the first girl after whom a lane was named. Sumita Bhattacharya Gali (lane) was dedicated to her as she is the most educated girl in the village.

Bhattacharya, who is pursuing a master's degree from Women's College in Jamshedpur, said, "I had never expected any lane would be dedicated after my name as I have done nothing remarkable for the society so far. But the act gave me immense encouragement and confidence for my higher education."

Bhattacharya, who wants to become a teacher, said that the girls of the village have to struggle a lot for pursuing higher studies as the nearest college is in Jamshedpur, which does not have a direct connection with the village.

Despite all these hurdles, the village has a surprisingly high literacy rate compared to the state's average. According to the 2011 census, the village had a literacy rate of 68.39 per cent compared to the state's average of 66.41 per cent. The village also has a higher male and female literacy rate in comparison to the state's average.

Three other girls – Mani Mala Sikdar, Sunita Gope and Baisakhi Gope – were chosen and lanes were dedicated to them.

Savitri Sardar, the village mukhiya (head) says, "Our objective is to encourage girls for education. We hope the village will turn as a model village for other parts of the state."

The handwritten signs denoting the names of the lanes written by hand on paper are often torn by children or destroyed during rains. The state administration has promised to replace them with wooden ones. 

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