LPG shortage leaves Raichur kids hungry

LPG shortage leaves Raichur kids hungry

Cylinder supply to schools stopped as dues not settled

Three designated gas agencies have stopped supplying LPG cylinders to schools as Education Department has not paid their past bills amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh. The gas agencies supply to 200 schools in the city alone. The problem has arisen because of non-payment of their bills due to a change in the payment procedure effected by an order of the Finance Department.

Till recently, payment to the suppliers was made by cheque issued by the Zilla Panchayat CEO and drawn on the joint account of the school development and management committee (SDMC) and the ZP, for which the school headmaster was a signatory. The cheques were issued through the taluk panchayats.

Of late, the Finance Department introduced the “payee receipt” system, prohibiting issue of such cheques from the bank account of ZP CEO and mandating that the cheque be issued by the Deputy Commissioner on the District Treasury.

According to the revised order, payment not only for the gas agencies but also for the cooking staff and bills for other expenses have to be paid through payees’ receipts.

To ensure early and prompt payment, Executive Officer of Taluk Panchayat has to deposit the amount to SDMC's account two months in advance.  The resulting confusion has led the gas agencies to stop supplies to schools till the issue is sorted out.

In schools where cooking is not done on gas, money is paid for firewood.  Education Department officials are finding it difficult to pay that too, as the amount has to be paid by the Treasury. 

Cylinder scarcity

At Raichur taluk alone 600 schools are facing cylinder scarcity.  Schools in the Raichur City’s Police Colony, Atkoor, Burdipad, Gunjalli, Gajarala and other locations have already stopped providing mid day meals to students. Some of the schools have gone back to wood for cooking.

If the old system is not restored at the earliest, the scheme might come to a complete standstill in all schools. Both the Education officials and teachers feel that the new system would lead to enormous delays in payment to suppliers, and in consequence affecting providing food for the students. As the new system of payment is applicable to all districts, similar situation is likely to affect schools in the entire State.