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NAGPUR :- Attending classes sans books

It's been over a month since the schools reopened, but thousands of poor students seeking education in Zilla Parishad schools in Nagpur district are yet to get their text books. This proves the state government's apathy towards primary education in rural areas.

More than 6000 students from class I to IV from 126 Mouda schools are attending classes but without text books, informed Zilla Parishad counsellor from Mouda Devendra Godbole. Shockingly, fake receipt invoices have been issued against the books which are yet to reach the students. Free education and study material is provided to poor students under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

As a mark of protest against government's apathy towards poor students, Mouda ZP members in association with Shikshak Karmachari Sangharsh Samiti (SKSS) kept the schools closed on Monday. "The poor students are suffering out of this neglect" Godbole said while adding that notices have been served to the tehsildar, block development officer (BDO) along with a copy to the Nagpur district collector.

"If our demands are not fulfilled within a couple of days then we will have to stage protests at the district collector's office" Godbole warned.

SKSS members led by chairmanNL Sawarkar and secretaryRajendra Gangotri have blamed newly-appointed deputy director of educationMahesh Karajgaonkar for the mess. They charged him with misappropriating funds worth lakhs during his postings as education officer at primary and secondary levels.

The SKSS in a communiqué claimed that they had definite proof regarding the misappropriation. The urged the authorities concerned to probe the cases against Karajgaonkar who reportedly is involved in massive corruption of school funds. A complaint has been lodged against the deputy director at Sitabuldi police station under section 420, 468 and 120 (B) for forgery and cheating.

Godbole said, "It doesn't matter if the funds are misused or not. But the books have to reach the students well in time at any cost." Denying allegations leveled against him, Karajgaonkar said, "I had placed the purchase orders for the text books in March. I was relieved from ZP in April. The books were distributed at the start of new session in June. So I was not party to it and have no idea as to what happened after the order was placed." He denied any connection with ZP's financial matters during his entire tenure.

"All the charges are baseless and is an attempt to malign my image," he insisted. A ZP school teacher, on condition of anonymity, said that teaching students without text books was almost impossible.

"How can we teach students without study material and defined syllabus," she questioned.

Admitting on the fact that students were yet to get their books, ZP presidentSuresh Bhoyar informed that a letter had been dispatched to the state education department in Pune urging them to release the books at the earliest.


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