District Panchayat threatens to halt sanctioning of funds

The Ernakulam District Panchayat has threatened to halt sanctioning funds to government schools that have failed to utilise the allotted money for construction of new buildings and carrying out the annual maintenance work. 

A meeting of the education officers convened by District Panchayat President Eldhose Kunnappillil here on Thursday observed that majority of the government schools eligible to receive funding for maintenance work had not utilised the funds sanctioned last year. 

Stating that the local body would stop providing funds to schools found not utilising the assistance on a time-bound basis, Mr. Kunnappillil said that school authorities were found reluctant to carry out construction and maintenance work on a regular basis. 

Several schools refused to take up repair and construction work before the school re-opened in June. “If we ask them to take up the work during the vacation, the authorities cite lame excuses like the shortage of staff to oversee the work,” he said. 

Referring to the Ernakulam district panchayat’s School Infra project, Mr. Kunnappillil said that only one school (Government Higher Secondary School, Kongorpilly) had spent the Rs. 50 lakh sanctioned as part of the project.   The School Infra initiative envisages constructing new building complexes for higher secondary schools and modernisation of classrooms and physics, chemistry and computer laboratories. The project was initiated by mobilising resources from NABARD, asset creation funds of MLAs, and the fund of the coastal area development corporation.

Estimates by the Ernakulam district panchayat say that the majority of the schools had utilised only 30 per cent of the funds under the School Infra project. 

The local body has now decided that schools that fail to carry out the annual maintenance work before the start of the new academic year would not be eligible to claim it later.