Burdwan, March 6: The Burdwan district magistrate has issued orders to the district inspector of schools to stop the March salaries of headmasters and teachers in-charge of 18 schools for not furnishing utilisation certificates of funds received under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) for the past seven years.
A total of Rs 1.5 crore, given to 55 schools in the district under the universal education mission, remains unaccounted for since the 2006-07 financial year till 2013-14. A meeting on Wednesday took up the cases of 18 schools, as their amounts were above at least Rs 50,000 each.
Police sources said FIRs had been lodged by SSA authorities in the district against nine other headmasters and teachers in-charge over the past one-and-a-half months on charges of embezzlement. Five have so far been arrested, of whom one has been granted bail. The remaining four are absconding, the sources said.
"Over 4,000 schools get SSA funds in Burdwan. After receiving requisitions from schools, funds are allotted each year for maintenance work, constructions, para-teachers' honorariums, students' uniforms and drinking water and sanitation," said SSA district project officer, Burdwan, Bhaskar Pal.
"None of the 18 higher secondary schools that were mentioned at the meeting has furnished a single paisa in the form of accounts," he said, explaining that the headmasters and teachers in-charge were responsible for submitting the utilisation certificates after holding meetings with the managing committees.
Alleged political interference in fund spending has taken a toll on several schools. The managing committees, mostly run by Trinamul, are divided over funds utilisation, sometimes allegedly diverting money for other purposes, a headmaster said.
The situation came to such a head that an elaborate meeting had to be held in district magistrate Saumitra Mohan's chamber this afternoon, where zilla sabhadipati Debu Tudu, district inspector of schools (secondary) Khagendranath Roy and district primary school council chairman Achinto Chakraborty were present.
Pal, district project officer, said: "We have warned the headmasters five times since 2006-07 about furnishing the utilisation certificates. We had also issued showcause notices but there have been no replies. They have ignored all warnings."