In a sorry comment on the state of education in the Capital, more than 2.5 lakh MCD students continue to sit on mats, as the civic agency has been unable to purchase 70,000 desks for its schools, since 2004.
The matter of shortage of desks was raised at a meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) Standing Committee, held on Tuesday.
Yogender Chandolia, chairman of the MCD Standing Committee had this to say about the plight of students: "Since 2004, there has been a shortage of about 70,000 desks in MCD-run schools and children have been sitting on mats or rugs. After a vigilance enquiry into the matter in 2004, purchase of desks from the previous agency was discontinued. Then efforts made to acquire them through government agencies.... were in vain...”
He said, thereafter, no efforts were made to fill the shortage. "There are separate funds allocated for such provisions. So, shortage of funds is not the problem. It appears to be more a case of bureaucratic inaction," he added.
Councillors demanded an explanation for the unwarranted delay, to which an MCD official said: "The delay was owing to technicalities. The process may still take about six months."
Meanwhile, the Standing Committee has directed the MCD commissioner to take action by April. "We have asked the commissioner to begin the process of acquiring the desks by April,” added Chandolia. “Phased acquisition of desks should begin to put an end to the delay," said Mahender Nagpal, chairman of the education committee of the MCD.