Official apathy leaves students without uniforms
Norms deviated for procurement of uniforms in govt schools
Srinagar: The school education department has failed to streamline the procurement of the school uniforms for distribution among the students enrolled in government educational institutions.
Pertinently, the school children up to class 8th in government schools are given free uniforms under erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
As per SSA norms, the uniforms are to be procured by the concerned school heads and distributed to the students after displaying the sample before the village education committee (VEC).
“But ZEOs swindle the money by procuring uniforms from selective firms or shops without inviting any competition from other sellers to bargain the rates,” said an official who wished not to be named.
Amid this, the funds are not properly utilized for procurement of the school uniforms instead are misappropriated at the zonal level fraudulently.
The official said the government had earlier decided to outsource the procurement of school uniforms to SICOP but the officials at various levels sabotage the process for their personal benefits.
“Under the present system, most of the students in schools don’t get the uniforms throughout the year and the funds are swindled by ZEOs and CEOs,” the official said.
The department is supposed to provide two sets of stitched uniforms at the rate of Rs 200 each under SSA. The department spends Rs 400 per student per year for uniforms.
From past many years, the concerned ZEOs in Bandipora have selected M/S Hi Tech firm for procurement of uniform for various zones which amounts to violation of norms.
“Under this system, the department keeps monopoly of a single firm while as other options are not explored to utilize funds properly,” the official said.
Notably, last year, an amount of Rs 36 core was distributed among all the CEOs who were directed to provide school uniforms to all the students.
“But the ZEO’s swindled the money and did not provide uniform to the students,” the official said, adding that the department has shelved the process of outsourcing the procurement of uniforms to SICOP which has created a muck in the department.
State Project Director (SPD) SAMAGRA, Tufail Ahmad Matoo said that the department is exploring the possibilities to outsource the procurement of uniforms to SICOP.
“We are looking into the matter and hopefully from this year purchase of uniforms will be outsourced to SICOP,” Matoo said.