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EGS school teachers swindled funds?

A VILLAGE teacher at an education guarantee school constructed a two-room school building, painted it and even fenced it. The building began to leak, the wall plaster came off and the tiles he had plastered, too, came off during the rains.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 13:26 IST

A VILLAGE teacher at an education guarantee school constructed a two-room school building, painted it and even fenced it. The building began to leak, the wall plaster came off and the tiles he had plastered, too, came off during the rains.

On inquiry, when the teacher was charged with swindling funds, he became mentally imbalanced and later resigned on his own. Rural Engineering Services (RES) is making fresh evaluation of the technically flawed building and plans to repair it soon to re-open the school, which is closed for past one year. This single-teacher school had 17 children, who now walk up to schools in nearby villages.

Giriraj Jaat was a ‘Guruji’ (teacher at education guarantee school) at Reshmiyamaal village in Med gram panchayat of Mhow tehsil who was appointed by Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) there. The school, opened under Education Guarantee Scheme, was allocated Rs 1.40 lakh for two rooms that were to be constructed under technical supervision of RES.

Instead of hiring masons, Jaat erected the walls, laid the roof and tiles, painted the building and even fenced it himself. PTA too didn’t object to it, as Giriraj was its secretary.

So the structurally flawed building, which is asymmetrical at most places, is a tribute to the unsound ways of government functioning. Proof of this a letter sent to District Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Ashutosh Avasthi where RES has held Jaat and PTA responsible for faulty structure.

When contacted, Avasthi denied having taken action against Giriraj and PTA, which is no longer in existence. Interestingly, when Mhow education department field staff contacted Jaat recently, he told them he wanted to take up farming.

Giriraj, however, is not a solitary instance. S Tiwari, a government primary school headmaster at Muhari village near Tillor Khurd in Indore tehsil, withdrew Rs 40,000 in March this year for construction of additional room on the school premises. He also purchased cement and iron for construction. But, the additional room has not come up so far.

When asked to state the reason, he said construction could not take place in summer due to water shortage. When pointed out that he could have got it made in subsequent months, he replied that it was not possible due to rains. During the course this correspondence, it was revealed that Tiwari has mental problems.

Now that the rains are over, a show cause notice has been served to him by district panchayat office. The notice has charged school headmaster with swindling the funds. However, he has been asked to start construction by August 31, failing which a complaint would be lodged with police. “We will wait till the given deadline, after which we will act against Tiwari,” Avasthi informed.