Chandigarh, June 8, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab has held the Capt. Amarinder Singh government squarely responsible for a plethora problems faced by the students, managements, members of the staff of private schools in the state fighting financial straits, triggered by the national lockdown imposed across the country.
In a joint statement issued from party headquarters in Chandigarh on Monday, state core committee chairman Principal Budhram, party’s chief spokesperson Prof. Baljinder Kaur, Deputy Leader of Opposition Sarabjit Kaur Manuke and master Baldev Singh (all MLAs) said the people of Punjab wanted to know from Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh as to what government had done to mitigate the sufferings of teeming millions of private school students, their parents, managements, teacher and other members of the staff in this distressing period of corona—induced national lockdown?
They also wanted the Chief Minister to make it public where a whopping amount of Rs 650 crore ‘reserve fund’ collected from private schools toward security / fees etc. had been squandered away, since the government had failed to provide financial assistance to private schools during the lockdown period, which was why they were exerting pressure on parents to pay their wards’ school fees.
Principal Budhram and Prof Baljinder Kaur slammed both the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, saying “What to speak of extending any financial or other aid to the parents of lakhs of students studying in the private schools in the state during these two and half months of the extended lockdown, they had not spared even 5 minutes to share the trauma they were subjected to undergo.
The AAP leaders questioned Minister Vijay Inder Singla if he had convened even a single departmental meeting to work out modalities on state level policy to address the problems faced by the parents of private school students in paying off the fees, posing a query for the minister, saying “Did he personally spared a precious little time for the hassled parents of millions of students, school managements, teaching and other members of the staff, including drivers in his capacity Education Minister?
They alleged that due to insensitive stance of the government, managements of private schools were pressuring the parents for paying off fees of their wards, citing reasons to pay to their staff for the lockdown period.
Bibi Sarabjit Kaur Manuke and Master Baldev Singh demanded to make public the details of the reserve funds to the tune of Rs. 650 crore collected by the government from private schools towards security, alleging misappropriation of the funds, like the billions of rupees on account of pre and post-matric scholarships paid to Dalit students.
The AAP MLAs said had the government concerned about the millions of parents and the staff of private schools, it would have immediately refunded the reserve funds due to each and every school, conceding the long-pending demand of the private school managing committees, exempted them from fixed electricity charges, taxes on all kind of transport, etc enabling the school managements to pay off salaries to their staff, thereby offering the much desired breather to the parents from paying their wards’ fees.
The AAP MLAs said that if the Education Minister had persuaded the government to release the reserve funds to private schools, besides paying 50 per cent of the salaries and other reliefs to their staff, the private schools management would not have exerted pressure on the parents to pay the fees.