Authorities release lakhs of rupees to non-existent schools in State

In a classic instance of faux pas, the government has transferred lakhs of rupees to hundreds of non-existent primary schools across the State. Realising the blunder at the end of the academic year, the authorities have now initiated damage-control measures by asking district level education officials to bring back the money.

A total of 867 non-functional primary schools in the State have together received nearly Rs. 1.34 crore from the Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) under various heads of expenditure for the financial year 2012-13. More amusingly, the funds were released even for the construction of additional classrooms in these schools.

Known as ‘zero enrolment schools’, they are deemed closed down for all practical purposes. However, they exist on records as the formalities of closure are yet to be completed.

Usually, funds under various heads such as school grant and maintenance grant are released to all schools at the beginning of the academic year.

Also granted are funds for uniform, stitching of uniform, library maintenance and construction of additional classrooms. These grants are deposited in the name of the respective school management committees and used accordingly.

Till a year ago, the funds were directly released to district level education officials who were in the know of things pertaining to non-functional schools. Later, it was decided to release funds through RVM.

The RVM State office has obtained the list of schools and account numbers from district level officials who did not delete zero enrolment schools from the list. Government grants were accordingly disbursed into these accounts in which they remained unspent throughout the year.

The matter came to light only when, at a recent review meeting, the special project director of RVM, V. Usha Rani, raised the issue and directed all district project officers to get the money back to the respective district offices. Also sought were the details of utilisation or mis-utilisation of funds.

“Instructions have been given to mandal education officers to recover the amount and deposit with the district project office,” a source said.

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