Getting transferred from one government school to another may be part of the job, but a teacher of Ballygunge Government High School has been transferred soon after raising serious allegations of misappropriation of funds against the school authorities.
The teacher, Aloke Bandhu Trivedi, filed the first complaint in December 2002 and later, he approached several officials. However, instead of being granted any assurance, he was transferred to Uttarpara Government High School in September this year.
His woes found voice in an open letter from his students. They wrote; “You have to go because you raised your voice against corruption. We hope you will continue your battle in future.”
Trivedi has written to the chief minister and the Human Rights Commission, alleging that apart from the transfer, he was harassed in other ways, too. “My service record has been lying with the directorate of school education for more than two years,” he said. Trivedi also alleged that he was not allowed to sit in the staff room during recess, as teachers of a particular association held meetings there almost regularly.
State school education minister Kanti Biswas, stating that transfers “are routine”, promised to conduct a probe. “On receiving the complaint, I will definitely look into the charges,” Biswas said on Friday.
Trivedi’s clash with the school authorities began after he, as secretariat member, demanded submission of accounts of the school’s platinum jubilee celebration committee. “Though the president of the committee, who is also the school’s headmaster, announced at a meeting in May 2002 that the accounts would be placed after the summer vacation, nothing was done later,” Trivedi said.
“Subscriptions were collected for the jubilee from students and their guardians without the government’s permission, which is highly irregular,” another teacher of the school said, on condition of anonymity. “Some teachers were drafted to collect the donations, advertisements and write-ups, for which a number of classes were cancelled, but nobody had the time to prepare the accounts for the expenses, a sum of about Rs 5 lakh,” he added.
On January 4, 2003, an audit report prepared by a private firm was placed at the committee’s meeting. However, Trivedi raised charges that the firm that handled the accounts was given the responsibility of preparing the audit report. “There was no mention of the subscriptions collected from the students in the report,” he said.
Sources said that at a secretariat meeting, the president of the committee admitted that there were no bills or vouchers for the expenses incurred during the celebrations. However, headmaster Rupak Hom Roy denied the allegations. “All these charges are baseless and motivated. I have given my written explanation to the minister,” Hom Roy said.
Trivedi is determined to continue his battle. “I have decided to move the Human Rights Commission. I am 50 now and a cardiac and diabetes patient. I was transferred in spite of my requests,” he added.