Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia warned on Monday that the Delhi government will not hesitate to take over MCD-run primary schools if the corporations fail to perform basic duties such as distribution of textbooks to children.
This comes on a day The Indian Express reported that students in 714 schools under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation are yet to get textbooks, despite five months having passed in the current academic year. The BJP-led corporation attributed the delay to procedural issues.
In a note to the Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department, Sisodia raised the matter, terming it “serious”. The Deputy CM, who also holds the Education portfolio, said no one has the right to “play havoc with the lives” of young children.
“If, for some reason, the municipal corporations are unable to perform their primary duty, then steps are to be taken by the urban development department for taking over of schools by the directorate of education, Delhi government. Instead of paying huge grants to the municipal corporations which divert the funds provided by the Delhi government for other purposes, it would be appropriate in the interest of students and teachers that the schools are taken over and run directly by the directorate of education,” Sisodia wrote.
There are approximately 3.5 lakh students, mostly from poor families, at primary schools under the North MCD. The Director of the press and information department, North MCD, Ira Singal, had told The Indian Express that though the process to purchase books was completed in March, the budget for it had to be approved as prices of the books had risen.
Sisodia said that out of Rs 853 crore that the Delhi government gave to all the three MCDs, the bulk of the amount — Rs 393.3 crore — went to the North MCD. The south and east MCDs have already carried out distribution of books, according to information obtained from the corporations.
“The money was to be spent for the salary of teachers and providing textbooks to school children. There are several news reports that neither the teachers have got their salaries nor the students their textbooks. Principal Secretary UD, who is also the director local bodies, is to ensure that the money provided by the Delhi government is utilised by the municipal corporations for the purpose for which it was given and teachers are paid salaries in time and students are provided textbooks immediately,” Sisodia said.
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