Bad conditions in Government schools, Tribal children sitting in dilapidated and leaky schools,
Court orders registration of offences against those misappropriating money meant for construction !
Raigad : There is a primary school meant for tribal students in the jurisdiction of Varsai Karkarwadi, under Varsai Gram Panchayat, in Pen Taluka, District Raigad. The school’s teachers requeste me for donation. I decided to visit the school to see how the school is before giving donations; therefore, I along with my colleagues visited school in August 2017. I was shocked to see the condition of the school. I witnessed how the Tribal students are deprived of their basc rights. Therefore, we photographed the school and lodged complaint with the Prime Minister office, Chief Minister, Education Minister, Tribal Development Minister of Maharashtra. Out of these, only Tribal Welfare Minister wrote a letter to Panchayat Samiti and the Education Officer and Junior Engineer became alert. The repairs to the school statrted by utilising the balance amount; however, either I received any letter nor any action was taken on the concerned. Considering the seriousness of the matter, we applied under the RTI Act and received the information which was shocking. On behalf of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, we lodged the complaints with BDP Panchayat Samiti Pen, Pen Police station and District Superintendent of Police; however, no action was taken. At last, we filed a case in the Special Court at Alibag and demanded that an action should be taken against the Vice President of Rural Education Committee and Up-Sarpanch of Varsai Gram Panchayat Jyotsna Hojage and her husband Chandrakant Hojage. We succeeded in the Court which heard the matter and ordered the Police to register the offences against accused, informed RTI activist and member of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad.
We are giving below only selected parts of the information received under RTI Act. For this school, an amount of Rs. 6,52,500 was sanction in 2007-08 for constructing a new primary school building. Although the amount was deposited with Gram Shikshan Committee 9 years back, the construction of the school was left incomplete.
The Gram Shikshan Committee allotted the work of construction of the school to the Vice President of Rural Education Committee and Up-Sarpanch of Varsai Gram Panchayat Jyotsna Hojage instead to recognised institute, in contravention of Government rules. When no construction work was carried out, former Sarpanch Mr. Chandrakant Hijage received Rs. 2,39,800 towards labour charges in instalments. Even this amount was paid in cash by contravening the provisions of IT Act and Government rules. Importantly, when it was decided that the work will be carried out by Mrs. Jyotsna Hojage, how such an large amoung was paid to her husband Mr. Chandrakant Hojage. Why special favours were shown by the Zilla Parishad to Mr. Chandrakant Hojage by disbursing the amount in cash instead of by cheques. This clearly shows that Block Education Officer and Gram Shikshan Committee have misused their offices to deceived the Government and the people.
The pathetic condition of ZP school
- The entire school was leaking. To stop the leakages, buckets, pots etc. were kept at the places of leakages.
- There was separate cabin for the Head Master, door of which was broken and a lot of garbage was existing in the room
- The toilet for the students was in an extremely dilapidated state and likely to collapse at any moment. It was not fit for use.
- The kitchen and water tank for preparing noon lunch for students were existing only in shattered condition.
- There was a large crevice between the roof and wall.
- Many windows had no panes, wherever they were found in bad condition, plastic was used in those places.
We photographed the pathetic condition of the school and sent them to the Prime Minister office, Chief Minister, Education Minister, Tribal Development Minister of Maharashtra. Unfortunately, the Government has not taken any action against the concerned. This raises a question whether all of them are hand in glove with each other. We will continue to fight against those depriving tribal students of their rights. Why do those who cry hoarse over the tribals, original residents do not stand behind tribal children ? If the school building was to collapse and school children are hurt, who would be responsible ? Since the matter is extremely sensitive, Mr. Vikram Bhave has demanded that structural audit of all the schools should be carried out, severe punishment is awarded to the guilty and register offences against the contractor and blacklist them.