Punjab News Express/Y.S. Rana
CHANDIGARH: The figures are telling lakh of rupees spent on rash of meetings and wastage of public funds on purchases thereafter. But the Chandigarh Administration has no fund to pay the electicity and water bills of government schools in the city. The city, at present, has 115 government schools with over 1.60 lakh student strength studying from Class Nursery to plus two.
Sources in the education department said that as the Chandigarh Administration was yet to sanction funds to foot water and electricity bills of its government schools, all schools have been directed to pay these bills from their own 'pockets.' He further added that department has 'exhausted' its contingency fund and found it difficult to pay electricity and water bills of government schools. Hence, to escape from the late payment penalty, school heads have been 'directed' to pay these bills from their own 'resources.'
Source has also stated that electricity and water bills ranging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 monthly.
While talking to some of the schools' heads admitted that they have been paying water and electricity bills from their own budget since November last year while some have complained that their schools were feeling brunt of paucity of funds. They also feared that schools would not able to pay these bills for long and connections may not be disconnected.
It is also found that some schools have not paid these bills because of lack of funding as the department did not release any proper grant timely to government schools to pay these bills. Grant given for a specific purpose cannot be used for other purpose, said a principal of government model senior secondary school.
The situation is more precarious in the schools located in economically backwards locality, said the principal. It is not an isolated examples but are an instance of wide spread financial constraints. "While his school has a problem of infrastructure with two rooms for 500 students also being asked to pay electricity and water bills," said a principal of rural school. Though there is no provision of paying power bills the department wanted everything to be conducted online, he added.
Admitting to the topsy-turvey ways, the Administration should release some special funds for the purpose or pay these bills directly, suggested one of the principals.