School students suffer as BBMP falters on payments

Money matters: The case is the latest addition to the list of miffed contractors and staffers. dh FILE photo

Defaulting on making payments has become a norm for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) if students and teachers of Palike schools in the city are to be believed. The students have not received their textbooks and uniforms while the teachers have been working unpaid since March.

The case is the latest addition to the list of miffed contractors of stormwater drains, streetlights and civic workers who staged protests against the civic body a delay in payments.

Though it has been a month since the academic year has begun, the students attending BBMP schools in the city, are yet to receive their textbooks and uniforms. “The delay is because of the Finance department of BBMP, which has not made the payment since the last year. Once it is done, we will distribute the books and the uniforms,” said a senior BBMP official, who did not wish to be named.

Nearly ten thousand students have been affected due to this. “About 10,000 students have enrolled this year and the admission process is still on,” said Shivanna, education officer, BBMP.

The solution is also not an immediate one. “It will take at least another month for us to complete the processes. We will be able to distribute the shoes, uniforms and textbooks only by the end of July,” said Shivanna.

Teachers suffer, too

The BBMP school teachers have not received their salaries since March. “This is not for the first time that our salaries are pending. They have agreed to pay us in another week’s time but nothing will happen if we do not raise our voices,” said Saraswathamma, a teacher at a BBMP school in Benson Town.

Meanwhile, the skewed ratio of teachers to the number of students continues this year too. “There were about 16,000 students last year and this time too, it has just reached 10,000. Right now, there is one teacher for every 20 students. But then, the admissions are on for some more time,” said the senior officer.

According to the ratio set, one teacher can be allotted for a group of 40 students.

Mayor R Sampath Raj said that the payments will be made within a month and it was delayed due to the election work and the model code of conduct. The BBMP Commissioner M Maheshwar Rao was unavailable for comments.

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