School Properties up for Grabs in Sambalpur

Surprising it may sound, but the shops constructed by Budharaja High School here with an aim to generate funds for overall development are up for grabs for a paltry monthly rent of `100 and `150.

Though the State Government has taken over the school, the situation has failed to improve with the Collector, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the school, and the district officials turning a blind eye to the issue.

Similar is the situation of Nrusingha Guru Town High School in Golebazar here. It was expected that things would change after the Government took over the school in 1991. But school properties worth crores of rupees are up for grabs and those in possession of it pay a pittance towards rent.

The earning from the properties is neither used for development of the schools nor transferred to Government fund.

Sources said the Budharaja High School situated along Budharaja-Ainthapali main road owns a market complex having 26 shop rooms in front of the school. Though the rent of the shops has been fixed between `100 and `150 per month, which is a paltry amount compared to the present market price, most of the shop owners are reluctant to pay the rent. Several shop owners have even rented out their shops to others for hefty amount besides undertaking extension of the shops without seeking permission from the school authorities or Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA).

Similarly, though Nrusingha Guru Town High School owns 33 shops, the income generated from the rent is a pittance. Most of the shop owners are unwilling to pay their monthly rent. Moreover, the rent is yet to be revised even after two decades.

In 2001, the Government ordered that a committee comprising the Collector as Chairman, District Education Officer, Headmaster of the school and president of the School Committee will revise the rent of the shops and
ensure timely collection of the revenue. However, nothing has been done in this regard so far even as the schools continue to languish due to paucity of funds.

Contacted, District Education Officer, Sambalpur Sangram Sahu passed the buck to the school committees and said respective schools should initiate preliminary steps against the errant shop owners.

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