Bajura, August 5
The District Education Office, Bajura has blocked the bank accounts of several public schools in the district that failed to complete construction of required infrastructure by the end the last fiscal.
Of the total budget of Rs 140 million allocated for these schools, more than Rs 110 million remained unspent. “The schools will now receive budget on the basis of progress on infrastructure development,” said an official at the District Treasury Controller’s Office.
“We have found that many schools have submitted bills to claim the budget, although they have not completed construction of required infrastructure,” said an official. As many as 81 schools were allocated budget for infrastructure development in the last fiscal.
Of them, only 23 schools completed construction of required infrastructure, said District Education Officer Nagendra Prasad Regmi.
The schools had only spent Rs 31.2 million by until the end of last fiscal. “I took the decision to block their accounts instead of practically freezing the budget. They have been directed to complete construction of required infrastructure by mid-September,” said Regmi.
As many as 56 schools were granted budget for construction of two-room buildings, 10 schools were allocated budget for three-room buildings and nine schools for four-room buildings in the district. The first installment of the budget was provided only in March.
Four engineers were deployed to help the schools. “The schools that gave due priority to the projects completed their task on time,” said engineer Deepak Bharati.
However, the schools have argued that they could not meet their target because of technical problems.
“The agreement was signed late, and they allocated the same transportation budget for the rural and urban areas, which also caused difficulties,” said Teacher’s Union Chairperson Janak Shahi.
Similarly, District Education Office, Kanchanpur has blocked the bank accounts of as many as 155 community schools, which failed to develop required infrastructure as per the agreement signed last fiscal.
As many as 192 schools were allocated budget for infrastructure development in the last fiscal in the district. A total of Rs 12.7 million allocated to the schools has been blocked, as per the DEO.
Durgadatta Panta, account officer at the DEO, said the last installment of the budget was blocked due to the schools’ failure to construct required infrastructure as per the recommendation of technical section of the office.
Only 37 schools have completed construction of their infrastructure development as per the agreement. The office issues 30 per cent budget after the school signs the agreement, 40 per cent budget based on the report of the technical team and remaining 30 per cent is deposited in the school’s account upon completion of the project.
Though the office blocked the amount of the last installment, the schools have already withdrawn two installments and spent it.
According to Kalyan Ojha, head teacher at Dharampur-based Mukti Primary School, they failed to meet the deadline due to the negligence of school management committee, apathy of the locals, fluctuation in the cost of construction material and lack of sincerity on the part of technicians.
A version of this article appears in print on August 06, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.