Govt fails to clear rent dues of buildings hired to run schools

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to release the rent against the schools operating from rented accommodations throughout Kashmir.

The state government has a rent liabilities of more than 2300 rented schools for the past many years and the landlords, according to officials have now threatened to seize the school property.

“The owners of the buildings have seized our lockers and other infrastructure as the  department did not pay them the outstanding rent,” said a teacher posted in Kupwara.

The rent liability is pending against some schools set up under state plan in some districts and schools established under centrally sponsored scheme- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) functioning across Kashmir.

The delay in release of rent to owners of private buildings is because of the fact that Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) has blocked the rent for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) schools in the state following the poor performance of the government to complete the annual target of civil works over the past many years.

“MHRD is not releasing any funds for rented schools and has asked the state government to complete the civil works which are halted from past many years,” a senior official in school education department said.

Interestingly, the  J&K government couldn’t take up construction works of schools under SSA scheme because of several reasons with the result the liabilities of civil works got piled up.

According to the official, earlier, MHRD would give Rs 200 as rent component for each school per month.

“But after the state government failed to take up the construction work on schools which were sanctioned every year, MHRD was annoyed and refused to pay the rent for the schools which were functioning from rented accommodations,” he said.

In Srinagar district, the government has rent liabilities of over 200 schools.

“Even if the number of rented schools has decreased post rationalization process initiated by school education department, the rent liabilities are pending against the previous figures,” the official said.

He said the number of rented schools has decreased but the rent of the merged school is still unpaid.

In Srinagar district 326 out of 518 schools are functioning from rented accommodations.

“All these schools have rent liability for the past more than three years. The land owners are fumed with the delay in the release of the rent who threaten to seize the school property,” an official said.

According to officials, the rent of schools is fixed by the rent assessment committee headed by the concerned Deputy Commissioner (DC) as its Chairman, Chief Education Officer (CEO) and Assistant Executive Engineer of PWD department as its members.

“They fix the rent of the parent schools which are set up under state plan while as the rent for SSA schools is released from MHRD through State Project Director SSA,” the official said.

Meanwhile, as per the figures, department has rent liability of over  50 schools in Ganderbal district.

The situation in north and south Kashmir districts is no different where the department has a rent liability of hundreds of schools.

“The department has shelved the issue of paying rent to the private owners. The figure is increasing after every month but authorities are unmoved,” the official said.

Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) GN Itoo said the department will collect the figures from all chief education officers to reconcile the actual figure of liability with regard to rent of school buildings.

“Once the figure will be finalised, we will try to clear the liability,” he said.


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