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Conditions in ashram schools bad,officers’ conduct shameful: Tribal Dept

The State Tribal Development Department on Friday admitted that the condition prevailing at the government-run ashram schools...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: March 14, 2009 3:11:44 am

State tells court erring staff suspended; HC says that’s no solution as they still get 75 percent of salary

The State Tribal Development Department (TDD) on Friday admitted that the condition prevailing at the government-run ashram schools in Thane were bad and the behaviour of the project officer and assistant project officer was “highly irresponsible” and “shameful”.

The High Court had taken suo-motu cognizance (based on a letter) of the deaths of five children at an ashram school and the case of a 15-year-old student found to be pregnant in another ashram allegedly at the behest of the superintendent who promised to marry her.

Prem Meena,secretary of the tribal department,in his affidavit has stated that the officials concerned have been suspended and an FIR has been lodged against the male superintendent,secondary head master and the lady superintendent of the ashram school where the 15-year-old girl was found to be pregnant.

“Suspending everyone is not a solution. Suspension is a blessing for a government employee,” Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said,adding that the officials are getting 75 per cent of their salary anyway.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked why the state can’t take action against the concerned secretary. Assistant Government Pleader Pradip Patil replied that the secretary was one of the best in the state.

On Patil’s insistence,the court also directed the state to effectively consider the proposals stated in the secretary’s affidavit for proper administration and implementation of schemes and for creation of a technical department.

The court had earlier summoned the tribal secretary regarding the deaths of five children between September-October 2007 in government-run ashram schools in Dahanu and Thane districts. The court had asked him to be present after verifying the affairs in the ashrams by visiting personally.

The court was hearing a suo-motu petition based on a letter written by Suresh Shinde on December 12,2007 regarding the running of the government-run ashram schools. The court had also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Thane to visit the said ashram schools and file a report. The report stated that the ashram was in a bad condition which has been seconded by the secretary. The secretary has,however,stated that the situation has improved since then.

The court had held that this is a serious matter and somebody must take responsibility for this.

These residential schools were set up by the Tribal Development Department under the Integrated Tribal Development Project which aims to reduce infant mortality rates in the state’s six tribal districts.

HC asks CBI to probe infected food and missing livestock case
The court has also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the case of infected food and alleged purchase of live stock at the villages in the tribal areas.

Three FIRs have been lodged against the supplier of food,National Cooperative Marketing Federation,for charges of inflated rates amounting to nearly 1,000 crore.

Observing that the matter is of serious concern,the court directed the CBI to expedite the investigation and file a chargesheet before the next hearing on April 17. ENS

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