Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Imagine a college where there's none

Patna, Sept. 6: What connects:
• An empty field
A building housing the service centre of a four-wheeler brand
A non-existent structure
All of them are, according to official records, Intermediate colleges affiliated to the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB).
These "colleges" with little or no infrastructure were granted affiliation by jailed former board chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh, one of the alleged masterminds of the Intermediate result scam.
The revelations were made today by current board chairman Anand Kishor, who issued showcause notices to 36 such colleges asking them to explain why their affiliation should not be cancelled. The board had earlier issued similar notices to 52 other colleges.
The "in-name-only" colleges were discovered by the board's special team probing the infrastructure of institutions granted affiliation during Lalkeshwar Prasad's tenure as chairman between June 2014 and June 2016.
The list includes names such as Dr Nazar Imam International +2 High School, Mohammedpur (Phulwarisharif): it has no building, no classrooms, no labs, but has been running in an open field for two years.
Similarly, Keshav Videshri Inter College in Arwal district, located around 70km south of Patna, has been "operating" from a building that is being used as a workshop of a four-wheeler company.
Apart from the 36 colleges that were issued showcause notices for suspension, the board also issued a directive for lodging an FIR against two colleges, re-inspection of five and gave six months' time to two institutions to strengthen their infrastructure.
"Most of the educational institutions that received affiliation lack basic infrastructure, teaching and non-teaching staff and had enrolled more students than the sanctioned number of seats," said board chairman Kishor.
Around 213 schools/Intermediate colleges had received affiliation during Lalkeshwar's tenure and all of them are on the radar of the board probe committee. Of these 213 institutions, the committee has completed its probe into 158.
Lalkeshwar's name figures in the chargesheet filed yesterday by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the result scam.
Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj, who heads the SIT, said the investigation will now primarily concentrate on how and why so many Intermediate colleges had been granted affiliation. "The police, in coordination with the BSEB, have found out that Lalkeshwar had provided affiliation to around 200 Intermediate colleges brushing aside all rules and regulations," said Maharaaj.
The board, based on the findings of the infrastructure committee, will suspend the affiliation of all such schools/colleges. If required, police cases too will be filed. But students won't be affected. "Students studying in such colleges will be tagged to nearby colleges in the same district," said Kishor.
Vaishali district magistrate Rachana Patil has sent her answers to the questions posed to her by the SIT in connection with the result scam. "She has answered to the queries," Patna SSP Maharaaj told The Telegraph without divulging details.
Sources in the SIT said four questions had been asked to her.
"Some of them are why the examination centre of Vishun Roy College, Vaishali (the epicentre of the scam), was changed and on whose authority was it done? Also, she was asked as to whether rules were followed in the process and why examination superintendents were changed. As far as my information goes, she has replied that centres and superintendents were changed as the administration felt that there could be incidents of cheating and all the steps taken were done in good faith. I cannot say more on this," an SIT member told The Telegraph under cover of anonymity.

Anything is possible in Bihar, UP and Jharkhand.
Many years ago, the Gandhi Maidan and Platform No 4 of the Patna Railway station were mortgaged and loan taken against them. It seems, things have not changed much since then in spite of Nitish Kumar tomtoming his achievements. With people like Lalu Yadav and his relatives in the Bihar cabinet, how can things improve?

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