SSA schools hit as govt fails to fix rent of private housing
“The DRACs have not settled the rent cases yet. The rent amount has not been fixed yet,” Dr Faesal said, adding that rent would be released once the cases are settled by the Committees.
The delay in settling the rents fixed by the District Rent Assessment Committee (DRAC) in favour of the private buildings housing government schools in valley has piled up the rent liability in the school education department over past many years.
The department has failed to release the rent in favor of the private buildings accommodating government schools in Kashmir.
The schools were sanctioned by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) since the inception of centrally sponsored scheme-Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in J&K.
However, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has failed to release the rent against the schools operating from rented accommodations throughout valley.
Over the past many years, the rent liability has piled up and the private owners, according to officials, have threatened to seize the school property.
"The owners fume as department didn't release the rent for the buildings hired by the education department," officials said.
Director School Education Kashmir, Dr Shah Faesal said the delay in settling the rent cases of schools caused the delay to release the rent to the building owners.
"The DRACs have not settled the rent cases yet. The rent amount has not been fixed yet," Dr Faesal said, adding that rent would be released once the cases are settled by the Committees.
The DRAC, headed by the concerned DC as its Chairman, besides Chief Education Officer (CEO) and Assistant Executive Engineer of PWD as its members, fix the rent for the parent schools while as for SSA schools rent is released from MHRD via State Project Director SSA.
MHRD had fixed an amount of Rs 200 for each school per month in rural areas while as in urban areas the rent is fixed after proper assessment of land and the accommodation.
"The provision of rented accommodations started during the implementation of the SSA scheme to make the schools available in school less habitations," officials said.
However MHRD according to officials blocked the rent for SSA schools following the poor performance of the government to complete the annual target of civil works over the past many years.
"MHRD refused to release funds for the rented schools for over two years and asked the state government to complete the civil works which are halted since last many years," officials said, adding that the government couldn't take up construction works of schools under SSA scheme with the result the liabilities of civil works got piled up in the department.
Interestingly, JK government received a target of around 10433 school buildings till the 2014-15 financial year, out of which around 8928 buildings have been completed while the rest are pending as liability with the state.
"The department has a liability of civil works which were sanctioned during the fiscal year of 2006-2007. The work is halted due to cost escalation over the years," the officials said.
The state government has the rent liabilities of more than 2300 rented schools for past more many years and the land owners, according to officials threaten to seize the school property.
"Although the number of rented schools has decreased after the rationalization of schools but the rent liability is yet to be cleared," the officials said.