Srinagar: Given the delay by government, the rent liability has piled up for past more than four years against the schools setup under state plan as well as under centrally sponsored scheme Sarva shiksha Abhiyan, across Kashmir.
The officials said the rent liability has piled up from past years as the planning department as well Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has not released funds to release rent for the schools functioning from hired accommodations.
“The planning department of state has not released funds for rent due to which the liability has swelled up in education department over the past four to five years,” Director School Education Kashmir, GN Itoo said.
He said the planning department in its recent meeting regarding budget allocation of school education department didn’t allocate funds for rent of the schools.
“We have huge liabilities of previous years but government didn’t release any money for it. We have still projected the cost with planning department for new budget allocation,” he said.
The official said the rent of the buildings hired to accommodate schools setup under state plan 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.
“The rent is fixed on basis of the accommodation available in the building. But the funds have not been released,” the official said.
Officials said the MHRD earlier used to release Rs 200 per month for each SSA school functioning from rented accommodation. However, the funds were stopped after government failed to construct government buildings for these schools.
“They (MHRD) from past four years stopped to release the rent for SSA schools in JK citing poor performance of the government in completing the annual target of civil works,” the official said.
Also, the government had decided to complete the construction of left out or incomplete buildings in collaboration with centrally sponsored scheme-MGNREGA wherein the labor component was to be covered under NREGA and construction part was to be handled by education department itself.
“Nothing materialized on grounds. Some works were started but later everything was put on back burner,” the official said.
Given the failure of the department to release the rent for private buildings hired for accommodation of schools, the owners of the buildings have now threatened to seize the infrastructure of schools.
“The owners have not been paid for years and now they have started seizing school lockers and other items as well,” an official said wishing not to be named.
“The irony is that department in 2015 clubbed over 1500 rented schools in rationalization process but the owners are yet to receive the rent of previous years,” he said.
It may be recalled that around 2406 school buildings- 1834 rented and 920 government owned buildings were spared post rationalization of schools in 2015.
Secretary School Education department, Farooq Ahmad Shah said the department has started an exercise wherein all the rent liabilities will be cleared.
“Those who have not received rent for providing buildings to accommodate schools should register their names with concerned ZEOs and CEOs. We will release the money in a shortest possible time” he said.