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Whose purpose are they actually serving?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:34:52 PM, Aleem Faizee


 Triangular shaped Cluster Resource Centers (CRC) constructed in Malegaon using SSA funds.

More Pains

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 Full

Such things happen only in Malegaon-Denied the wages, teachers 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 its share...Read Full

Malegaon: 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.


The 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.


The 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 unmanageable and deserving persons, naïve and YES SIR kind of people were deliberately given the charge.


Helpless Officers

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 construction.”


He 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.”


In 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.



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Malegaon has very complicated issues. Needs whole-hearted efforts from all.

S Chokalingham (IAS)

Former Collector Dist Nashik

now Additional Commissioner, Sales Tax (Maharashtra)


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