BENGALURU: The shoes distributed to state government schoolchildren under the free shoes and socks scheme are allegedly of poor quality and the State Primary and Secondary Education Minister has himself raised suspicions about a scam in this. This issue came to light during a recent meeting called by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy where Deputy Commissioners of all districts and CEOs of all Zilla Panchayats were present.
In the meeting, Primary and Secondary Education Minister N Mahesh directed his department officials to look into the issue and submit a report.
According to official sources who were present at the meeting, "When Principal Secretary to Primary and Secondary Education Department Shalini Rajneesh was briefing the meeting about the scheme and said everything would reach schools by August 15, the minister interrupted and raised the issue about the quality of shoes."
"The minister pointed out that shoes in schools of several districts were of low quality. He even mentioned about the difference in the quality of sole and upper part of the shoes provided to the kids and asked the department officials to verify the same with DCs and district officers and submit a report," said an official who was present in the meeting.
To substantiate this, in a recent incident, the minister himself verified the facts by inspecting a shoe worn by a student.
Recently, Mahesh visited Chamarajanagar district for an event. There, the first thing he did was taking the shoe worn by a student in his hands and verifying it.
"He mentioned particularly about the supply of poor quality shoes. In the meeting, he clearly said, these could be imitations of shoes from a branded company, or the company which supplied the shoes itself was providing poor quality shoes," said a source.
The procurement of shoes is not done at the state level by calling a tender. Instead, the responsibility of
purchasing shoes has been given to School Development and Monitoring Committees at their levels.
Meanwhile, following the issue raised by the minister in a meeting chaired by the CM, the Department of Public Instruction has asked the taluk officials to verify the same randomly and send reports.
Total pairs of shoes supplied: 46 lakh
Students studying in Class 1 to 10 are beneficiaries
Only for those studying in government schools
Price is in three ranges: Rs 265,
Rs 295 and Rs 325 based on the age and shoe size of the child