BENGALURU: The education wing of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided that no sweaters will be given to school and college students this year.
They have instead told the managements of educational institutions to distribute sweaters to students who did not collect them last year.
Also, this year, the wing is seeking approval to distribute uniforms to students from grade nine to degree.
The decision has been taken amidst rising allegations of financial irregularities from the BBMP, misappropriation of funds and swindling of sweaters by middlemen, contractors and some BBMP staffers.
Many activist groups and members of Dalit sanghas have also given a representation to BBMP citing anomalies, to which BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that he will look into it.
Based on the decision taken in the council in March 2020, the BBMP had to start distribution of sweaters to around 14,000 children from grade one to grade 12. But due to the lockdown announced in April 2020, the exercise did not commence. The BBMP then decided that sweaters will be distributed to children along with ration kits to students from grade 1-9, while those from grade 9-12 were given the same in December 2020 when offline classes had started. BBMP had given the contract to the handlooms department for the sweaters.
"Around 50-60 per cent were given last year, so now we are asking all those who have not collected them to come and take them. This year we are not giving any new sweaters. Each child is given two -- one full sleeve sweater and another half sleeve one. This year we are planning to give complete uniform and school kit to students from grade nine. We have not decided anything for those below grade nine as no decision on opening of schools has been taken and last year also every one did not take. So giving another order and distributing them once again will be a futile exercise when the children are at home," said a senior BBMP official.
The BBMP commissioner and administration are yet to take a decision on what to do with the funds accumulated in the budget for this purpose this year, which is around Rs 9 crore. Last year, the sweaters cost Rs 1.72 crore and the rest of the amount is still in the BBMP coffers.