Staff salaries not paid for 6 months, Bathinda govt sports school stares at uncertainty
The management of Government Sports Senior Secondary School, Ghudda, in Bathinda district is in a quandary ahead of the new academic session starting from next month as salaries to the staff members have not been paid since October last year.
The arrears of staff at the school, run by a local committee headed ex-officio by the Bathinda deputy commissioner, have piled up to ₹83 lakh and the state government has yet not released any grant, it is learnt.
The residential school offers 11 different indoor and outdoor sports for students of Class 7 to 12. Besides 13 coaches, there are nine subject teachers. The school has only two regular teachers and the principal is on deputation from the education department.
The decade-old institute saw a ray of hope when the state sports department in December proposed to take over the school. It was proposed that it may be affiliated with the under-construction Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Punjab Sports University, Patiala, to boost sports facilities at the local institute.
But no decision has been taken as the admission process for the next session by conducting sports trials is already done.
Officials said a nod in this regard was needed at the ministerial level.
A brainchild of former CM Parkash Singh Badal, the school was set up in 2010 to identify and groom talented players. Officials blame the state government’s model wherein the sports department had no role in running the institute.
“The education department manages the institute and coaches and faculty members are being hired on contract. The sports department used to give nearly ₹60 lakh annually to budding players. But it was suspended in 2019 after anomalies were pointed out in the annual audit,” said an official.
When the school was launched by then SAD-BJP government in 2010, a fixed deposit of ₹15 crore was instituted. Education department officials said due to the scarcity of funds, the school depends on ₹30 lakh received quarterly as interest against the FD from the bank that is insufficient to meet expenses.
Principal Amarbir Kaur said the monthly bill of the school is around ₹27 lakh and measures are being considered by the committee to reduce the financial burden.
“A decision will be taken after the ex-officio chairperson returns from month-long leave. There is a proposal to shift students to another government school located in the same village for academics while sports training may continue on the Ghudda campus. We are also exploring the option to add about 100 new seats where additional students may pay nominal fees,” she said.