State gets Additional Rs. 488 Crore for Improving Schools

State gets Additional Rs. 488 Crore for Improving Schools

It will be spent on constructing 5,707 classrooms in high schools and higher secondary schools

Chennai: The State’s sagging school infrastructure received a significant fillip after an intervention by Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram last Monday ensured that an additional Rs.488 crore will be available soon for constructing additional classrooms, and associated facilities.

According to one source, it took only a little persuasion from the Union Minister before the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the NABARD decided to grant the State an additional Rs.78 crore and Rs.410.08 crore respectively.

The request for additional funds was set in motion by the School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu and was followed up with the Ministry of Human Resource Development in New Delhi by Kanimozhi, MP, who is also a member of the consultative committee of the Ministry.

Additional funds

Ms.Kanimozhi took up the cause of getting additional funds because the School Education Department had spent as much as 74 per cent of the Rs.720 crore allotted under the Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan Mission till end-January and also because Mr.Chidambaram had stated that surplus amount available could be given to States that had shown significant progress in utilising resources. Also, Ms.Kanimozhi was aware of the chronic lack of infrastructure in some of the schools.

“Everyone in New Delhi was impressed with our progress. But they were not very sure if they should release the amount at the fag end of the financial year,” said Mr.Thennarasu when asked about the reluctance of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to release the additional funds to construct classrooms for primary and upper primary classes across the State.

Though Mr.Thennarasu had undergone a minor surgery only a few days earlier, he sought an appointment with Mr.Chidambaram and met him in New Delhi on Monday. “We explained to Mr.Chidambaram and requested him to intervene. When he went through our records, he said he would help.” So before Mr.Thennarasu landed in Chennai the next day, the MHRD had already decided in principle to allocate the amount to Tamil Nadu.

With NABARD there was no year-end problem since the Bank works to a different schedule (phases).

Phase 8 proposal

A phase 8 proposal from the School Education Department was pending with it. The problem was that the Bank was lending too much to Tamil Nadu. Mr.Chidambaram was reportedly of the view that if a State was spending the money in a manner that stood up to NABARD’s scrutiny, then the Bank should not hesitate to lend.

The money would be spent to construct 5,707 classrooms in high schools and higher secondary schools.

To get laboratories

In addition, 141 high schools and 182 higher secondary schools will get laboratories, 1507 schools will get toilets and 416 will get provision for drinking water.

Pressing need

“One pressing need is a perimeter wall,” said M.P.Vijaykumar, director, SSA With the grant as much as 1,28,981 metres of compound wall will be constructed in schools that do not have one.