The Punjab education department owes a rent of more than Rs 5crore to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), but it has refused to pay even a single penny.
The education department’s offices, including various offices of directors of public instructions (DPI) -secondary schools, elementary schools and colleges - and State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), are operating from the PSEB building since 2012.
However, for the past around two years, these offices have not paid even a single penny to the school education board, which owns the building in Phase 8.
Among all these offices, only the director general school education (DGSE) office has paid a partial amount of Rs 36 lakh from its outstanding amount of rent.
A senior official of the PSEB, who wished not to be reveal his name, said it was decided in a high-level meeting of the education board that these departments would pay the rent to the PSEB as the building belonged to them, and the public works department had also fixed Rs 23.35 per square feet as rent.
Before shifting to the PSEB in Phase 8, SAS Nagar, these departments were operating from different sectors in Chandigarh as they did not have their own buildings.
PSEB chairman Tajinder Kaur Dhaliwal confirmed that these departments have not paid the rent as they were liable to pay under the written agreement. “The PSEB is an autonomous body, which can take the decisions independently regarding the board,” she said.
While responding on the issue of pending rent, she said they had verbally discussed this with the new education minister, Daljit Singh Cheema, and final call would be taken soon.
She added that the PSEB had already conveyed it to them through reminders. “I have not checked if they have sent any replies to the notices,” Dhaliwal said.
A senior official of the board said the outstanding amount of rent would be used for the development of PSEB. The board had written several times to them regarding this outstanding amount, but never got any reply and even they never gave any reason for non-payment of the pending amount.
The details collected from the department revealed that the DPI, secondary, had to pay an amount of Rs 2.42 crore which was pending since August 2012. The amount of Rs 53 lakh had not been paid by the DPI, elementary, while the DPI, colleges, had to pay Rs 1.01 crore as rent. The SCERT had to pay Rs 60.54 lakh as rent. After paying Rs 36 lakh, the DGSE office still has an outstanding amount of Rs 1.22 crore.
When contacted, DPI, secondary, Kamal Kumar denied telling the reasons for not paying the outstanding amount. He said, “I do not want to comment.”
DPI, colleges, Gurdev Singh and DPI, elementary, Darshan Kaur, did not respond to the phone calls.