Ensuring that power cuts do not affect students appearing for their board exams has cost some schools dearly in Mumbai. Schools that have spent more than Rs 60,000 for installing inverters and generators at exam centres prone to load shedding have complained the state government is yet to reimburse them.
“We had to rent generators in most of our schools, as the education officials in our area insisted on it,” said a trustee of a reputed group of schools in Andheri, requesting anonymity, adding, “Renting the generators cost us around Rs 60,000 a day.”
The trustee said even though they had sent all the power bills to the education department, they have not yet been reimbursed. “The officials keep delaying the payment on some pretext or the other. We have not received any official communication on it,” said the trustee.
Anil Bornare, member of the state teachers association, said the state board should take up the responsibility of reimbursing the schools. “Many schools have approached us with complaints about not being reimbursed. When the state board asks schools to become exam centres, they should also see to it that the schools are paid back for the arrangements made for conducting the exams,” said Bornare.
However, Nandkumar, principal secretary of school education, said they have not received any of the bills. “We can make payments only after we get the bills and they are approved. But when we have not received any bills so far, how can we reimburse them?” said Nandkumar. “If there was any problem, the schools should have come to us directly.”
On February 24, the Bombay high court (HC) directed the state government to ensure that generators are installed in all Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam centres prone to load shedding. The expenditure incurred by these centres was to be borne by the state government.
More than 231 exam centres across the state had arranged for inverters and generators during the exams held during FebruaryMarch. In Mumbai division, generators were installed in exam centres in Thane, Vashi and other areas prone to power outages.