Transformed schools face threat of theft in absence of watchmen- The New Indian Express

Through Express Message Service

JAGATSINGHPUR: With no night guards, principals of high schools falling under the state government’s 5T Initiative Transformation Program are concerned about the safety of LED TVs, cameras, sound systems, computers and other similar devices installed in smart classrooms .

Of the 253 high schools in the district, 191 were covered by the program. But the storage of smart devices being made available to the converted schools remains a concern as 43 peon and 21 night watchman posts remain vacant.

On October 2nd, a smart interactive panel with LED TV was stolen from Biswanath High School in Biridi block along with other gadgets worth 10 lakh. Headmaster Narayan Parida reported this to the local police, but no arrests have been made so far. Parida said the school has 12 employees, including two peons, but no night watchman.

Similarly, on November 1, a smart interactive panel with LED TV, e-library, scientific equipment and other equipment was stolen from Ochinda Government High School in Balikuda. District Education Officer (DEO) Niranjan Behera had directed the principals of the remodeled schools to hire Group D staff to keep watch at night. Schools like the one in Ochinda, however, ignored the policy.

On the other hand, the fourth-rate workers’ association Nikhil Utkal is protesting against the administration’s directive to hire group D workers, including manual workers, as night watchmen. The association has even threatened hate speech if the directive is not withdrawn soon. In such a scenario, school principals find themselves on the receiving end.

Meanwhile, DEO Behera has recommended to the Directorate of Secondary Education in Odisha that the headmistress of the government high school, Ochinda Sanjukta Subudhi, be suspended for dereliction of duty that led to theft and violation of the 1959 Code of Conduct for Odisha Government Servants.