shaped Cluster Resource Centers (CRC) constructed in Malegaon
using SSA funds.
A Living Hell:
Established in 1863 Malegaon Municipal Council till a decade ago was regarded as one of the richest Council
in Maharashtra. It was so prosperous that when Nashik and Malegaon
both were Municipal Councils, it used to lend Nashik Municipal
Council the funds needed for the monthly payments....Read
Such things happen only in Malegaon-Denied
are forced to work in
powerloom factories during the night:
The life has become a hell for more than 1000 families here in
Malegaon as the local civic body is persistently failing in paying
Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) is quick in blaming the poor
financial condition for all its misdoings. However when the funds
under various schemes reach its coffer it hardly has any planning
for their proper utilization. Instead most of these funds are either
lapsed and lay unused or if at all they are used, due to improper
planning and rampant corruption, fail in bringing the desired
results. This is what had seemingly happened with the massive amount
of the fund that came to Malegaon through Serva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).
On the basis of the survey report done in 2001 when the Government
began working on SSA, it sanctioned funds for the construction of
490 rooms and 90 new schools in Malegaon. While the rooms were
needed to combat the shortage of rooms so as to enable the existing
schools run in single shifts, the construction of the new schools
was for the areas where there existed no school at all.
Along with the massive amounts of the funds that were released to
fulfill the above requirements, the Government also released funds
for CRC-Cluster Resource Center, URC-Urban Resource Center and
NPEGEL-National Program of Education for Girls at Elementary Level.
While CRC, a kind of link between an office and schools, was
introduced for improving the education quality, URC and NPEGEL were
especially designed for the girl students to prevent dropouts and to
teach short-term courses, on EARN WHILE YOU LEARN basis.
According to the sources, while all the 7 proposed NPEGEL centers,
costing Rs. 200,000 per center were constructed, out of the 17
triangular shaped CRCs costing Rs. 200,000 each, only 11 centers
could have been constructed so far. But the quality of construction
is so bad that most of these structures are on the verge of
collapse. “More ironic is the fact that hardly any of these CRCs are
ever used for the purpose they had been built. Instead while some of
them are used as classrooms, many others are lying unused ever since
their construction”, the sources add.
Similar is the story in case of the construction of schools and
classrooms. While 176 rooms out of the total 490 classrooms proposed
could have been constructed, out of the total 90 new schools, the
concerned department has till now constructed only half the proposed
figure. “Here too the kind of quality maintained for the
construction can easily be gauged from a look at these buildings”,
the insiders say while adding, like the CRCs, most of these schools
too are yet to commence the academic activities.
sources further reveal, one Urban
Resource Center (URC) costing rupees 600,000 and consisting
of one hall, one room and one toilet is also sanctioned. But when
and where this would be constructed is still not clear.
Besides these funds, over 100 schools owned by the Malegaon
Municipal Corporation (MMC) were given 50,000 rupees each for
purchase of computers and other related equipments. The insiders
say, large-scale irregularities were also observed while purchasing
the computer systems.
insiders also reveal that in order to get a free hand over the
government funds, on the posts of the Kendra or Samoh
Permukhs who were supposed to work as coordinators and look into
proper utilisation of the Government funds, cleverly avoiding the
deserving persons, naïve and YES SIR kind of people were
deliberately given the charge.
While the incumbent Municipal Commissioner Jeevan Sonawane was not
available for the comment as he has just taken the charge as
Municipal Commissioner, the erstwhile Commissioner Kalyan Kelkar,
sprang a surprise by admitting that he was fully aware of the
irregularities in the government funds. He even admitted receiving
many complaints about the mishandling in the SSA funds when he was
in the town as Commissioner.
When asked why he had not taken any action, he replied, “After going
through the details I found that SSA being a Central Government
scheme, the Corporation does not have any authority to intervene.
Besides, the corporation has hardly any control over the School
Board as it is a totally statutory and autonomous body.”
About the crumbling triangular shaped Cluster Resource Centers (CRC),
he said, “I was the one who had opposed the construction of these
triangular shaped CRCs and declined to give the permission for
further said that he had even complained to the Director of
Education requesting him to look into the matter. “Surprisingly”,
Kelkar said, “He too had expressed helplessness to do anything
stating that the whole responsibility of the proper utilization of
the funds is on the committee headed by the Ward Corporators, Head
Masters and the Kendra or Samoh Permukh.”
between in the civic election that held in 2007, the Malegaonians,
the beleaguered people of Malegaon, decided to give chance to a new
set of corporators who under the banner of Third Front promised to
eliminate the rampant corruption and mismanagement in the town. Two
years have passed since the Malegaonians had brought a historic
change in the civic body. However for them the change at the ground
level is still far from visible.