A photographic drive in the government-run primary schools in Orissa’s Kendrapara district had revealed the presence of more than 11,000 fake students in the school registers.
Though names of 11,266 students were in the enrolment register,but the children could not be traced in reality.
However,MDM (mid-day meal) ration against these fake students were being sanctioned,officials said.
“As many as 11,266 students were not traceable and could not be covered under the photographic exercise. It should be construed that the enrolment of these ‘missing’ students were on pen and paper only,” Kendrapara Collector Dhananjaya Das said.
“A drive was launched and all school children were photographed. Their snapshots were affixed in the school attendance register. It has been found that around 12,000 fake students were enrolled in attendance registers,” he said.
Every year the government exchequer in Kendrapara was coughing up Rs 78,07,338 towards the cost of ration earmarked for such fake students. The beneficiaries of enrolment scam were mostly from district social welfare department and schools and mass education department officials,sources said.
MDM suppliers too had a share in the spoils,officials.
The ration cost specified against each of the enrolled student stood annually at Rs 693,according to official sources.
The blocks like Mahakalpada (2,366),Kendrapara (2,129) and Aul (1,551) accounted for highest number of fake enrolments,the collector said.
Mid-day meal ration quota that was being released against these bogus students has now been stopped,he said.
A departmental inquiry committee has been formed to look into the factors that led to such a largescale fake enrolments. Disciplinary action would be initiated against those either involved or promoting the ghost enrolment,Das said.
“As MDM-related complaints were pouring in from various parts,the administration had taken up the drive to take snapshots of each primary school student. It was mandatory that the student’s photo should figure in the students’ attendance register,” the collector said.