Monday, May 6, 2013

Education dept clueless over lost Nagpur RTE bills

Education dept clueless over lost Nagpur RTE bills

Abhishek Choudhari, TNN Apr 30, 2013, 06.23AM IST

NAGPUR: Those schools in Nagpur district, which submitted bills for admissions given under the Right To Education Act (RTE) last year to education department for reimbursement, may have to wait longer. The reason: no one in the state's education department has any idea where those bills are! The Nagpur branch claims to have delivered the bills on March 15 at its headquarters in Pune, while the latter claims complete ignorance.
Director of education (primary) Mahavir Mane said, "We received no RTE bills from Nagpur at all. In fact, after TOI's query I asked my staff to thoroughly check the incoming mail list, but nothing was found."

Nagpur's RTE in-charge Someshwar Netam confirmed to TOI that the bills had indeed been sent. "One of my staffer members had gone to Pune and delivered the documents on March 15. I am in no position to say why it cannot be found at Pune office. But, we always keep a backup of all our correspondence, so a new set can be dispatched," said Netam.
As per rules, schools under RTE ambit have to give free admission up to 25% of their total strength. These schools are then reimbursed by the state government after verification of submitted bills. But the education department seems to have performed the seemingly impossible feat of misplacing these pending bills.
This bizarre case reflects the callous working culture at the education department as officials in Nagpur and Pune were unaware that RTE bills had gone missing. The goof-up came to light only after TOI started reporting on the delay in RTE bill reimbursements.
School principals are fuming upon learning the way department is handling financial matters. A principal said, "It is outrageous that they are taking the bill payment issue so lightly. We have been waiting since last year for it and have followed education department's every directive and this is how they handle it. In a private job such action would have led to termination of services."
Another principal said, "Last year they asked us to submit bills with attendance up to October. Hence everyone sent the bills in first week of November. Then in February the education department informed us that the bills were rejected due to old data. Of course the data will get old if they sit on those bills for months together. Now that we have submitted attendance records till February our education officials manage to lose them all together."
Netam has now assured TOI that he will follow up on the issue.

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