Ludhiana | BPEOs scrimp on funds for delivering new books, saddle schools with bill

Despite receiving funds for delivering new Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) textbooks to government schools, block primary education officers (BPEOs) have directed school authorities to collect the books from their respective offices at their own expense.

Saddled with the additional financial burden, some miffed school authorities have refused to collect the books, and have asked the BPEOs to make arrangements to drop the textbooks on the school premises.

Sukhdarshan Singh, a deputy professor at Government High School, Kot Mangal Singh, has written to the education department objecting to the ongoing practice, and has also filed a Right to Information (RTI) Act petition seeking details of funds provided to BPEOs to transport books to schools over the last five years.

“There are 19 blocks in Ludhiana and each BPEO gets around 30,000 to 40,000 to supply books to all schools in their respective blocks. However, instead of sending the books to schools, the BPEOs ask school heads to send their staff to collect them, ”says Singh.

“If we were to collect the books ourselves, how will we explain the expenditure, especially when the government has allotted funds for the same to the education department? Teachers cannot be expected to spend money from their own pocket, ”he adds.

The headmaster of a government school, requesting anonymity, said, “It is tough for us to bear the transportation cost. Usually, we ask influential people or non-government organizations to pitch in. Despite funds being allocated to BPEOs, our teachers use their private vehicles or hire on time at personal cost to bring books to school. ”

Officials at Punjabi Bhawan say they immediately dispatch books to BPEOs after receiving them from the PSEB office. “BPEOs should also do the same, instead of directing schools to collect the books,” an official, requesting anonymity, said.

A senior education officer said that BPEOs get funds according to the student strength in their respective blocks.

“At times, the allocation of transportation funds is delayed, following which BPEOs inform schools of the problem. Principals or school heads to avoid delays send their teachers to collect the books themselves. Time takes around 400 per round, ”she said, adding that books are usually received in installments, due to which the transportation costs at times surpass the funds earmarked for the purpose.


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