Karnataka

School for visually challenged fighting for grants

Visually challenged girls studying in Smt. Ambubai Residential School for Blind girls staging a dharna in front of the office of the CEO of the Zilla Panchayat in Kalaburagi on Monday.— Photo: Arun Kulkarni

Visually challenged girls studying in Smt. Ambubai Residential School for Blind girls staging a dharna in front of the office of the CEO of the Zilla Panchayat in Kalaburagi on Monday.— Photo: Arun Kulkarni  

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More than 50 visually challenged students of Smt. Ambubai Residential School for Blind Girls run by the Hyderabad Karnataka Disabled Welfare Society, and their teachers, are running literally from pillar to post to get the grants due from the government for the mess charges and teachers’ salaries.

The school, recognised by the government and eligible to receive grants to operate a primary residential school with seven teachers and two non-teaching staff, has not yet got any funds.

The visually challenged children and their teachers staged a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kalaburagi Zilla Panchayat demanding early clearance of grants for the school.

Hand-to-mouth plight

Out of the seven teachers working in the school, four are visually challenged and hailing from places such as Belagavi and Bidar and staying in rented houses in Kalaburagi city, they said.

Bharati, a visually challenged teacher from Kittur in Belagavi district, said it was difficult to meet the monthly expenses, including rent of Rs. 3,500 per month for the single bedroom house she was staying in. “The owner of the house has threatened to throw me and my aged parents out of the house if the rent dues are not settled immediately,” she said.

Similar are the stories of Vidyavathi, who hails from Bidar, and Vaijnath and Mahesh, who are also visually challenged.

The school authorities told The Hindu here on Monday that it was a hand-to-mouth situation in the school, with the authorities spending more than Rs. 1.25 lakh every month to run the residential school through loans. “We do not know how long this could continue,” the teachers said.

When contacted, ZP CEO Anirudh Sravan said he was not aware of this issue and as per his inquiries, the delay in releasing the grants was due to the objections raised by the Disability Department. He said there had been a delay in inspection of the school by the District Disability Officer, who holds the charge of three districts and is headquartered in Ballari.

Mr. Sravan said the issue would be settled within a fortnight, and he had appointed a nodal officer to re-inspect the school and submit a report to the Disability Department to enable the release of grants to the school as soon as possible.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 10:42:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/school-for-visually-challenged-fighting-for-grants/article7627422.ece

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