Guwahati, Sept. 27: The Centre has asked Dispur to justify its decision of setting model schools beyond a distance of 10km from block headquarters in some educationally backward blocks in Assam.
In 2009, the UPA government had decided to set up 6,000 model schools in backward blocks across India at a cost of Rs 12,750 crore.
Altogether 81 such blocks were selected for the state.
The model schools were envisaged on the lines of Kendriya Vidyalayas.
These schools will have quality infrastructure, academic facilities, innovative curriculum, dedicated and highly educated faculties and hostel facility for boys and girls.
“According to the norms, the model schools will have to be set up within a 10km radius from the block headquarters for the sake of smooth communication, easy accessibility and close monitoring by the administration. But the state government has decided to set up some schools beyond the 10km radius and approached the Union ministry of human resource development for approval,” a source told The Telegraph.
In response to Dispur’s decision, the human resource development ministry had asked the state government to justify its decision, the source said.
The Centre has already released funds to set up the model schools in 67 blocks in the state.
The mission director of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), J. Balaji, told The Telegraph that though the government was able to manage the required plots of lands to set up the model schools for most of the educationally backward blocks, there were difficulties in acquiring lands for some blocks.
“Five acres or 16 bighas of land within the 10km radius from the block headquarters are required to set up the model schools. However, in some blocks, so much land was not available. So, we have decided to approach the Centre to relax the rule in case of some blocks,” Balaji said.
The RMSA is the nodal agency to implement the scheme of setting up model schools.
Balaji said the government had started the process of setting up schools in 65 blocks and tenders had already been floated to award the job to reputed firms.
He said the PWD would look after the civil construction of the schools, which was expected to start from November.
Construction of each school will cost nearly Rs 3.62 crore.
During the Eleventh Plan, the recurring costs will be shared by the Centre and state on a 75:25 basis. The sharing pattern during the Twelfth Plan will be 50:50.