Srinagar: At a time when eight lakh children at government schools in J&K, constituting half of the state’s student population, are deprived of furniture, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has sanctioned more than Rs 2 crore for purchase of “office furniture” at schools where polling stations would be set up for the upcoming parliament and assembly elections.
DSEK on Tuesday sanctioned Rs 207.5 lakh “to meet out expenditure for purchase of office furniture in the schools where polling stations shall be set up during the Parliament/Assembly elections”.
The furniture, the DSEK said, will be kept at the disposal of the respective Chief Education Officers across Kashmir and Ladakh divisions.
The Rs 2 crore-worth sanction for office furniture at schools to be specifically designated as polling stations comes weeks after the School Education Department, told the State Administrative Council in a communiqué that roughly half of the 16.5 lakh school children in the state were deprived of furniture for seating.
An official at the DSEK’s planning section told Kashmir Reader that the money for purchasing the furniture had been granted to the directorate by the state’s Chief Electoral Officer.
To do its bit to put in place benches and desks for the school children specifically in Kashmir valley, a DSEK insider said, pleading anonymity, that the directorate had proposed to utilise Rs 21.5 crore of the Rs 35 crore meant for school upgradation in the current fiscal for “furniture and fixture” at the schools.
“The DSEK has also asked the administrative department to ask the state project directorate of Samagra Shiksha to purchase the furniture at schools under its domain,” added the insider.
Repeated calls made by Kashmir Reader to Secretary School Education Ajeet Kumar Sahu over the matter went unanswered.