Nagpur: Around Rs3.5 crore meant for reimbursing Right to Education (RTE) bills of schools in Nagpur is lying idle in the education department’s account since April even though schools in city are running from pillar to post since 2012 with pending bills. TOI has learnt that the money has been credited to the Nagpur account but none of it has been paid to schools citing ‘pending paperwork’. An education official involved with RTE work said, “Bills are being scrutinized along with checks done on various other parameters. Schools will receive payments very soon, probably by September end.”
This information has not gone down well with schools which have been waiting for years and yet not seen a single penny. A senior academician said, “We have been submitting bills on time and in various formats that they ask for. Many of us thought that the problem is with the state government which has not been releasing money to the local education office. Here however things are completely different and I fail to understand why they don’t release the payments.” The RTE payments are to be directly credited into the school’s account by the education department after scrutiny of bills are complete.
TOI had reported earlier that schools will be paid for academic session 2012-13 and 2013-14. But so far only 66% for each year has been approved so far by the state government. The RTE bill payment delay has tested the patience of school owners long enough and that’s why a huge morcha has been planned in October at chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s official residence in Nagpur. Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA) recently announced its decision to take a 10,000-strong crowd to CM’s residence for RTE and other issues.
It is likely that this announcement by MESTA may work as a catalyst for RTE payment release. An education official, who’s not directly handling RTE payments but is aware of developments on that front, said, “CM would definitely be unhappy if school owners throng his place for RTE payments. Now considering that there’s already Rs3.5 crore lying in our RTE account, CM may just ask that reimbursements start as soon as possible.”
While the ‘catalyst theory’ is likely, the MESTA morcha won’t stop because of payments being released as the association has various issues on their agenda.
Source: The Times of India