Bureaucratic wrangles leading to delay in construction of hostels for tribal students has left the ST & SC Development department worried.
Although the Government had granted permission for construction of 100-bed hostels for tribal boys and girls in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 financial years, many districts have failed to finish the works on time.
Aiming at improving the enrolment figure and bringing down the dropout rate in tribal schools, both the State and Central governments had sanctioned construction of 1,328 (100-bed) hostels for ST students in various districts. Similarly, in 2011-2012, Odisha Government sanctioned 1,000 (100-bed) hostel complexes under the State Plan. Accordingly, the Government directed all the district collectors to make the hostels functional from academic sessions 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. Each of these hostels entail an expenditure of `5 crore to `6 crore.
However, after a lapse of five years, some districts are yet to start construction of these hostels.
Of the seven hostel complexes sanctioned for Cuttack district in 2011-12, work on four hostels have not been taken up till date. Puri district got permission for building three hostel complexes for ST students in the same fiscal, but just one complex was completed. Work on the rest two has not started.
Similarly, the State Government had asked Khurda administration to take up construction of six such hostel complexes and make them operational by this academic session. Of the six, only two have been completed and work on the remaining four has not started. They are in districts such as Nabarangpur (one hostel), Jharsuguda and Balangir (two each) and Nuapada (one).
Nuapada, Cuttack and Boudh districts have not started construction of the hostels money for which were sanctioned in 2009-10. While district administrations claimed delay in allotment of land for building hostels as the reason behind the delay, the department has given them a deadline to act.
Director (ST) Akhil Bihari Ota said the defaulting districts have been asked to take up immediate measures in this regard.
“We have been asked to start construction of these hostels by May 31 failing which funds sanctioned for these hostels will be refunded and allotted to needy areas and no hostels would be allotted to these areas in future,” he said.
In the current financial year of 2012-13, the State Government has sanctioned opening of 700 such hostels for tribal students.