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Students get ultimatum as parents fail to pay dues

Dehradun: A school in the city has sent ultimatum to over 150 students because the government had not paid their fee under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Officials of the state education department meanwhile expressed helplessness in the matter saying that there has been a delay in the release of funds from the central government.

Sneha Doon Academy near Govindgarh has over 1100 students, of which 152 are admitted under RTE and the government pays a major chunk of their fee. However, school director Harishankar Rao told TOI that the government has not paid them their share for over three years and owes almost Rs 45 lakh. “They had to pay Rs 50 lakh for three years but have paid just Rs 5 lakh. I have been to almost every office, including the education directorate, but they have not released even a single rupee.”

Rao added that he had to ask students to talk to their parents as the school couldn’t function without fee for much longer.

“This school is for kids from poor backgrounds. Most of the students here are from slums. Their parents are daily wage labourers. That’s why we depend on the money from the government to function. But because the government hasn’t released the money, several school staff had to quit since we couldn’t pay their salaries.”

Speaking to TOI, RTE project directory Jyoti Yadav said that the department is still waiting for around Rs 200 crore to be released by the Centre. “We are yet to receive our share of funds under the RTE from the union government. The total amount is close to Rs 200 crore. Once that amount is released, we will pay this money to schools,” she said.

She added that none of the affected schools have written to the department. “The department will only act if something comes in writing.”

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