Will take over MCD schools if they fail in duties: Manish Sisodia
The minister, who also holds the education portfolio, said the civic bodies were “diverting” funds provided for education by the Delhi government for other purposes.Updated: Aug 10, 2020, 23:44 IST
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday asked the state urban development department to submit a proposal so that the Delhi government’s directorate of education (DoE) can take over schools run by the three BJP-ruled municipal corporations in case they failed to “perform their primary duties” such as paying salaries to teachers and distributing textbooks to students.
The minister, who also holds the education portfolio, said the civic bodies were “diverting” funds provided for education by the Delhi government for other purposes.
In a letter to urban development minister Satyender Jain, Sisodia said, “I have received complaints that the schools run by municipal corporations, especially North Delhi Municipal Corporation, have not yet distributed textbooks to school children. The allegations against the civic body, if found true, are serious and no one can play with the lives of young children... It is unfortunate that even after a lapse of five full months during the academic year 2020-21, textbooks are yet to be provided to children, which can play havoc with their lives.”
Sisodia alleged that the municipal corporation had failed to pay salaries to its teachers and issue books to students even after the Delhi government gave them the required funds.
“The Delhi government has paid Rs 853 crore for primary school education to the three municipal corporations and bulk of the share, i.e Rs 393.3 crore, has been provided to North Delhi Municipal Corporation. The money was to be spent on the salary to the teachers and providing textbooks to the school children. There are several news reports that neither the teachers got their salaries nor the students got their textbooks,” he said.
“If for some reason, the municipal corporation is unable to perform their primary duty, steps are to be taken by the urban development department for taking over the schools by the directorate of education, Delhi government. Instead of paying huge grants to the municipal corporation, which divert the funds provided by the Delhi government for other purposes, it would be appropriate in the interest of students and teachers that the schools are taken over and run directly by the DoE,” Sisodia said in the note.
“An action taken report to be submitted at the earliest in the matter,” he added.
Senior officials in municipal corporation said the allegations of “diversion of funds” were baseless and the delay in distribution of books happened due to the lockdown between March and June.
Ira Singhal, spokesperson of the north corporation, said, “Before Covid-19, we had placed an order to purchase books but it turned out that the rates had been revised. We again submitted the proposal for approval from the education committee and the mayor. This was stalled due to nationwide lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The new purchase order has now been approved by the mayor and the education committee. Books will be distributed to the students latest by the first week of September,” she said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said, “This has been one of their agendas ever since they came to power in the Delhi government...they are struggling to provide essential facilities and infrastructure. The government should tell people of Delhi why funds have not been released to the three civic bodies.”