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Winters here in Ludhiana, but where are government school uniforms?

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Deepa Sharma Sood, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON NOV 04, 2019 10:48 PM IST

Winters are here and revised school timings have kicked in. But students of Classes 1 to 8 of government schools are still waiting for the new uniforms that are provided to them free of cost every year.

Most of the government school heads have claimed that the grant received by them to purchase school uniforms is not according to the students’ strength.

Nearly 50 government schools have not even received the grants meant for the below poverty line (BPL) boys and Scheduled Caste boys.

At least 1.21 lakh students of the district are supposed to get free uniforms, of whom 74,574 are girls, 39,511 are Scheduled Caste (SC) boys and 7,403 are below poverty line (BPL) boys.

Uniforms are provided to all girl students besides SC and BPL boys. Each school gets 600 per student for purchasing shoes, socks, belt, tie, shirt, trousers, skirt, sweater and turban.

The district Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan office had on September 6 received the grant of 7.28 crore from the state authorities to provide uniforms and the same funds were sent to 19 blocks according to the students’ strength updated by schools on ePunjab website.

As per sources, block primary education officers had deposited the grant in bank accounts of the government schools on September 12 and school authorities had confirmed that they received the grant to purchase uniforms after September 15.

School heads of primary schools have said that they will be able to provide uniforms to students in the next two weeks as they had placed the order in the first week of October and the supplier needed time to source the uniforms according to the measurements of each student.

In view of winters, the state education department has already changed the timings of government schools from 8am to 9am, but the new winter uniforms are yet to reach the students.

The school authorities, however, have blamed the state authorities for sending the grant in September, leaving them with limited time to get the new uniforms from supplier.

A school head teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have at least 360 students in our school of whom 123 belong to the SC category. The school has not received any grant for this category. I have written to the block primary education officer concerned regarding this. We have given the order for uniforms from the grant received for girls so that we can provide new uniforms at the earliest.”

However, block primary education officer (Mangat 1) Bhupinder Kaur said, “Several schools have informed us that they have not received the grant for BPL boys. We have asked the school heads to update the details on ePunjab web portal so that grant can be transferred to the schools.”

Despite repeated attempts, comments of district education officer (elementary) Rajinder Kaur could not be elicited.

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