BANGALORE: With just 10 days left for schools to re-open, students in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) schools are unlikely to get uniforms and textbooks in time.
In 2013-14, the BBMP had distributed shoes, bags and uniforms in December, almost seven months late.
Every year, the BBMP provides free uniforms, textbooks, shoes, bags, sweaters to 15,000 students in its 137 schools.
Till recently, officials and councillors were claiming this year things would fall into place in time. But now, the BBMP has asked the government to take care of school supplies.
An official told Express the delays began with the BBMP asking the state government to exempt it from health and education cess.
“According to the Karnataka Municipal Council Act, we have to pay 10 per cent of property tax to the government as health and education cess. When we take care of our schools and hospitals, why should we pay the cess?” an official argued.
The government is not convinced the BBMP deserves an exemption. “That is why we want to hand over the responsibility of school supplies to them,” he said.
The government told the BBMP to give its school supply requirement list to the Department of Public Instruction.
“We sent the details 10 days ago,” an official said. “The government will now have to place an order with Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation for the supply of uniforms.” KHDC will need two to three months to stitch 15,000 sets of uniforms, a source said.
However, if a tender is called right away, textbooks could be delivered within a month.
“The government will supply uniforms and textbooks,” BBMP Additional Commissioner (Education) Manjunath Swamy confirmed.
He, however, said the BBMP would still supply bags, shoes and sweaters. For that, the government must approve the BBMP budget. “We have all our documents ready. Once we get a budget approval, we will call for tenders,” he said. But officials say the budget copy was sent to the government only last week and will take a month for an okay. Tenders will then be called and other formalities will have to be completed.