The shortage of desks in schools run by the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi has been attributed to “red-tape” by senior representatives. While the North Delhi Municipal Corporation requires 23,000 desks for schools under its jurisdiction, it has currently received a mere 5,000, according to Education Committee Chairman Rekha Gupta.

“Shortage of desks in schools is a very old matter which has forced children to sit on rugs and on the floor and study,” she said. “Even though our shortage is only 23,000 we would need at least 15,000 to 20,000 more given the existing desks are getting old and will need to be replaced,” she added.

Years ago, former Standing Committee Chairman Yogender Chandolia of the erstwhile MCD had noted that the Corporation faced a shortage of about 70,000 desks since 2004. The services of the previous agency, which was supplying desks, had been discontinued following a vigilance inquiry against it that year.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation Education Committee Chairman Satish Upadhyay said the South Corporation had a requirement of 32,100 (17,600 large and 14,500 small) desks. “Three trucks have already been loaded and the desks have been taken to the Shri Ram Labs for testing. They will give us a report within a week after which distribution will begin in schools,” he said.

Representatives of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation said East Delhi schools need roughly 25,000 desks and blamed the trifurcation of the MCD for the delay in the procurement process. “The tendering process for desks was carried out by the unified MCD after which each Corporation had to carry it out on its own,” said an official, adding desks will be delivered to schools in the next few months.