748 schools in Uttarakhand have no students — 581 in 10 hill districts

Uttarakhand has 748 schools that have no students. More than 200 of these schools are in Almora and Pauri, the two hill districts that have recorded maximum forced migration since the state’s formation in 2000

dehradun Updated: Mar 22, 2018 21:56 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
An empty house in a ‘ghost’ village in Pauri. More than 200 empty schools are in Almora and Pauri, the two hill districts that have recorded maximum forced migration. (HT File)

Uttarakhand has 748 schools that have no students. More than 200 of these schools are in Almora and Pauri, the two hill districts that have recorded maximum forced migration since the state’s formation in 2000, the government informed the assembly Thursday.

Replying to a query by BJP legislator S S Jeena, state school education minister Arvind Pandey said of the total 748 empty schools, maximum 581 are located in the 10 hill districts. A process was on to hand over the empty schools to gram panchayats for their upkeep and maintenance. Pandey was replying to Jeena’s query about agencies, if any, hired by the government for maintenance of the school buildings lying vacant.

Figures provided by the minister suggested that of the three plains districts, Dehradun had highest number (49) of schools without students. The two other plain districts of Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar have four such schools each.

To another query by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi about teachers appointed on fake degrees, Pandey said investigations were on in the case. “Educational certificates of 6,247 teachers, who had been appointed in five years beginning 2012 are being screened by different educational institution,” he said.

Screening of 867 teachers has already been completed. “Of these, an inquiry is being conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) against 79 teachers. Twenty seven teachers have already been terminated,” he informed the House.

Pandey was, however, caught unawares when BJP legislator K S Rawat raised a query on backlog of vacant posts of teachers in primary schools reserved for the Other Backward Caste (OBC) candidates. Pandey replied that there was no such backlog. Rawat, however, citing information procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act claimed that there was a backlog of over 1000 such vacancies. The minister relented when the MLA said that a hearing on the issue was pending in the high court. “The issue can’t be discussed in the House because it is sub-judice,” the minister said.

Replying to another query by Congress MLA Karan Mehra, Pandey said district magistrates have been directed not to engage school teachers in duties other than those relating to census operations and elections. “The step has been taken so that teachers could concentrate on teaching, their primary duty”, Pandey said.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 21:56 IST