State needs additional Rs 190 cr. for completion of 20 residential schools

Pic by Meghalaya News 24..

The Meghalaya government required another Rs 190 crore for the completion of the 20 residential schools across the state. Education Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui said that there is a huge financial implication for completing the projects.
Blaming the erstwhile Government for taking up the responsibility of the establishment of 20 residential schools across the state in one go, the Education Minister said it should have been first done in one or two schools as a pilot project.
The project was sanctioned by the then Congress-led state government during 2012-2013.
“We would require additional funds of around Rs 190 crore to complete the project,” Education minister Lahkmen Rymbui told reporters here on Wednesday.
His statement also came a day after the traditional heads of Mawtari Myrdon village in Ri Bhoi have threatened to take back the plot of land given free of cost to the government for allegedly abandoning the construction of the building of the residential school in the village.
Stating that the concept of residential school is very good as it provides accessibility of quality education to students in rural areas, Rymbui however lamented due to the lack of planning on the part of the then government.
“When this project was sanctioned in 2012-13, there was no planning at all. Instead of doing it as a pilot project in one-two locations, the government at that time in its own wisdom had done in more than 20 locations of which 19 are under construction and remain incomplete till date,” he said.
The minister further stated that the problem at that point of time was also the fact that only Rs 5 crore was sanctioned to each of the 20 residential schools.
“Subsequently, few crores have been released and till date, many of the contractors did not get their bills even for the work completed,” he said.
Rymbui further stated that according to him, setting up a residential school for an amount of Rs 5 crore is next to impossible due to the various components such as the construction of teacher’s quarters, hostels, etc.
“If you remember I had also mentioned on the floor of the House in 2018 that we need not less than Rs 10 crore extra for each residential school in order to make them operationalized,” he said.
The education minister informed that the chief minister Conrad K Sangma has agreed to provide some funds for the completion of these projects and to make payment for those already completed.
According to him, the government also needs to look into the nine model schools in Garo Hills.