Responding to the petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the School and Mass education Secretary reported the rights panel.
In spite of considerable time elapsed as granted by the rights panel, the State Government, however, has kept its mouth shut over the construction of smelters by Vedanta on the premises of Bhurkamuda Upper Primary School in Jharsuguda district.
“Its pity that access to schools meant for rural and tribal children under 6-14 age group and right to education, which is fundamental right, were denied 40 schools in Odisha’s Angul for JSPL. No action has been taken against Vedanta,” Mohapatra alleged.
He further alleged that, “The State Government does not provide school infrastructure and teacher in the industrial region having unholy nexus with the corporate.’
The rights body had directed the Secretary of School and Mass Education Department to submit the report within eight weeks regarding steps taken to fill up the vacancies in the schools and construction of required buildings.
Prior to the direction, the Secretary of the School and Mass Education stated that out of the list of 40 numbers of schools, two schools, Basudevpur Primary School and Bamanali Primary School have been closed for being acquired by JSPL as well as there were less than five enrolments. Another two schools, Mahamahima Upper Primary School and Durgapur Upper Primary School under Kaniha Block belong to block grant category and not covered under Sarba Sikshya Abhiyan. Hence, there is no provision of building in those schools.
“Thirty schools have adequate classrooms as per the RTE provisions. Other six schools are building less schools. To provide new building, proposal was submitted during the financial year 2012-13, but the Project Approval Board did not provide required funds for construction of new buildings. However, steps are being taken for diversion of funds from other schools, if available,” stated the Secretary in her report.
Though the rights panel had asked the State to submit action-taken report (ATR) over the allegation of Vedanta grabbing school land, the State authorities are sitting silent over the matter. There are 200 tribal students who face endanger to life daily.