Government launches inquiry into misuse of SSA funds in Kolar, Ramanagaram - The New Indian Express

Government launches inquiry into misuse of SSA funds in Kolar, Ramanagaram

Published: 27th July 2013 01:16 PM

Last Updated: 27th July 2013 01:16 PM

The State government launched an inquiry into the alleged misuse of funds running into lakhs of rupees allocated by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for bringing out-of-school children (OOSC) into the mainstream in Kolar and Ramanagaram districts.

Six block education officers in Kolar and four in Ramanagaram have been served notices seeking an explanation on why school-going children were projected as out-of-school children while running the 12-month residential special training (RST) programmes.

As many as 350 children in Kolar and 140 children in Ramanagaram were shown as enrolled in long-term (six, nine and twelve months) RST programmes at a cost of `70 lakh and `28 lakh respectively. Similar misuse was identified in Gulbarga and four headmasters have been suspended there.

Many children were found to be out of school for just 10-15 days, defeating the purpose of the RST programmes that are meant to mainstream children who have been out of school for 60 days or more. This forced the SSA to scrap long-term RST programmes and stick to 3-month programmes instead.  The SSA had recommended an inquiry to be done at the State government-level after a joint director-level inquiry confirmed misuse of funds in these two districts. “The government has initiated an inquiry in Kolar and Ramanagaram where the scale of misuse is believed to be very high,” said Subodh Yadav, state project director, SSA.

On the other hand, Prahlad Gowda, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), Ramanagaram, challenged the SSA’s contention that there was misuse of OOSC funds in his district. “As per rules, before OOSC are enrolled in mainstreaming programmes, we have to get them enrolled in schools. Naturally, when a team from SSA came here and asked the children which school they belonged to, they were able to give them names of schools. This lead them to believe that they were school-going children. Our BEOs are ready to answer whatever the government wants to know,” said Gowda.

In Kolar, a fresh survey was done to identify OOSC after the misuse was detected. “Right now, we have 330 children enrolled in five RST centres. A special admission drive will be taken up next month where we will go door-to-door to get children into schools,” said S V Padmanabh, DDPI, Kolar.

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