Exam fees overcharging nexus EXPOSED in Thathri Zone: Dy. CM directs DSE-J for inquiry

  • Actual fee is Rs 110, they charge- Rs 150, Rs 180 and Rs 200 at will without any receipt.
    Ajmer Alam Wani
JK MONITOR INVESTIGATION EXPOSES

JAMMU:  Though there has been perception since decades that politicians and bureaucrats are the people who promote and impose corruption on the general masses by one and the other way to extract hard money from their pockets thus make them suffer.

But the recent media investigations into the allegations have established that some people in the clerical staff in different Government offices are the real people who are promoting corruption and weakening the system which is emerging fast a threat for the society.

The most respectable department (Education Department) which holds greater responsibility of creating good citizens by imparting moral values besides quality education is losing its respect fast because of some vested interests working in the department for only and only self development and accumulating huge wealth through unfair means.

The recent, investigations by the JK MONITOR (www.jkmonitor.org) exposed a scandal in examination fees collection in Education Zone of Thathri.   Three days earlier, JK MONITOR received information from the sources, from the district, that the staff of Zonal Education Officer’s (ZEO) office Thathri has been involved many corrupt practices and public as well as Govt money is swindled.

The JK MONITOR received the information on different aspects but the management of the JK MONITOR decided to expose one by one after proper investigations to establish the facts in allegations leveled against the staff of ZEO office Thathri.

Among other complaints, one was about charging of examination fees in excess from students of class 8th.

It was alleged that the concerned in the ZEO office Thathri has directed all the teachers to deposit the examination fees in tune of Rs 180 against the actual fees of Rs 110 ( including Rs 100 examination fees and Rs 10 registration fees).  Though it was difficult to establish the facts in the absence proper receipts or any documentary proof about the overcharging of examination fees but ongoing tactical and without disclosing the identity as media person, the facts were verified and it was established that the allegations leveled were corrected and accurate.

STEP BY STEP:-

First we started with the verification of actual fees which should be charged from the students as examination fees.  Being ignorant from the fact, we were not aware that who is competent authority to fix and decide the fees structure for the middle stranded (class 8th), we first called the sub office of the Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (JKBOSE) Doda and enquired about the details about examination fees being charged in class 8th.

They said “We do not deal with the class 8th examinations and fees structure, this all comes under the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), so you need to confirm it from there only”.

There after we called one of the officer who works in DIET  office Doda, he confirmed that the  examination fees is Rs 110 for class 8th   and further added “ We has directed all the subordinate offices to collect only Rs 110 from the students and also instructed against overcharging.”

We requested an order copy of the fees structure they must be having with them, the officer was out of office so he advised to collect from the State Institute of Education (SIE) Jammu.

Our next step was to make a call to the Principal SIE Jammu, and the Principal and the concerned person in the office, both confirmed that the fee is Rs 110 and it has not been revised since last two years. Principal SIE said that if anyone is overcharging, deserves action.

Thereafter, we started contacting sarpanches and teachers of those areas from where we had received the complaints.

We first called a Sarpanch Noor Mohammed from Kathava in Thathri and inquired about the issue, luckily father of a student who works as labourer was there who told us that ‘ he has paid Rs 200 as asked by the school to his son for  examination fees which include some amount for photographs for the examination form. From him it was not clear how much money has been demanded by the school as examination fees.

Thereafter, we called another Sarpanch, Rehman Kashmiri of Nandna, he said that some issue is there but need to be confirmed about the class 8th and also expressed resentment over the imposing printing charges by the ZEO Thathri on home examinations which start from class 1. He said that he has informed the CEO Doda about this.

Our next step was to talk to teachers. We talked to a teacher and on the condition of anonymity, he confirmed that all the schools have been directed by the office of the ZEO Thathri verbally to collect exam fees at the rate of Rs 180 from each students in Thathri Zone, and added that there is no written order on this neither any receipt is issued against the amount by the ZEO office.

When we called another teacher of Middle School Cheera, Mr Imtiaz Ahmed, without disclosing our identity, he confirmed that in Middle School Cheera – they have fill up the forms 10 students deposited the fees in the ZEO Office Thathri- at the rate of Rs 180 per students as they were directed but no receipt has been provided against the fees deposited.

When asked has ZEO himself directed the schools, he said, no, it was  told by one staffer of the ZEO office whom he identified as Yasir Rasheed , who deals with fees collection and related work.

The fees collected in the tune of Rs 180 was confirmed by other schools also, namely, Middle School Rookali, Middle School Sherni, Middle School Dooki, Middle School Dhalla, High School Sewa,  Middle School Bolian and many more.

One parent identifies as Shokat who is a carpenter, said that he and his brother have paid Rs 200 each to one teacher of MS Bolian Mr Ranjeet as examination fees.

For the investigations it was enough to establish the facts and accuracy in complaints and information we received from sources.

Now our next step was to make a call directly to the concerned person, to know what he says, but here we were supposed to be tactical and finally we called Mr Yasir Rasheed. The conversation goes in Kashmir this way:–

Yasir Rasheed:  Hello

JK MONITOR:  Sir, I am calling from Jammu and have some confusion about the examination fee of class 8th.

Yasir Rasheed: Who are you first disclose yourself than I will be able to tell you.

JK MONITOR: Sir in-fact we have a student there in a school in Nandna, and I want to confirm from your good self the fees being charged there is variation in schools, plz tell me the actual fees if you can.

Yasir Rasheed: Ok, the examination fees being charged is Rs 150 per student.

JK MONITOR: Sir is it nor overchging, as I came to know, it is just Rs 110.

 Yasir Rasheed:  It is not, if we keep Rs 20 and a teacher keeps Rs 20, there should be a problem, in this.

JK MONITOR: Ok sir so you admit that you are over charging.

Yasir Rasheed: What problem you have, if I charge Rs 250, there should be no problem to anyone.

JK MONITOR: Sir, let me disclose my identity…and I disclose my name

Yasir Rasheed: Oh you, you are my brother, and a brother will never highlight this issue, you leave this issue.

JK MONITOR:  Ok, I am not going to do anything, I just do what is my professional obligation, you tell me who has directed you to do this all, is ZEO of someone else.

Yasir Rasheed: No, No ZEO do not know about this, I am doing this at my own.

JK MONITOR: Then who is involved in the nexus, is someone in CEO office directed you for this?

In a dim voice–Yasir Rasheed: We have to deposit in CEO office.

JK MONITOR: Thanks for admitting that you are charging Rs 150.

Yasir Rasheed: We are brothers and for brother leave this issue.

This conservation ends.

Thereafter, we called ZEO Thathri Mr Kalwant Singh Thakkar, on asking he too confirmed that the examination fees for the Class 8th is Rs 110 only and also expressed ignorance about the issue of overcharging. On asking, he said that I was on leave for 15 days so don’t know what happened in office, “I will check and if anything has been charged in excess, will be refunded to parents”.

When asked why overcharged, he said, “there were some directions from CEO office earlier but 2 days back CEO Doda told me to charge Rs 110”. He further clarified, “I think earlier it was so and later there is some modification and now the fee is Rs 110”.

Relevant to mention here that for the last two years there was no modification made by the SIE in examination fees of class 8th  so how and what modifications was ZEO talking. But one thing is established after talking to Yaseer Rasheed and ZEO Thathri- some connecting on this issue leads to CEO office too, which need to be investigated.

Our next step was talking to Director School Education Jammu, but being busy in the meeting, the matter could not be discussed in details.

Thereafter, we tried to talk to Dy. Chief Minister Tara Chand, who is also holding the charge of Education Department but couldn’t be contacted as he too was busy in some meeting as Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was in the state.

But late evening we got a call back from Dy. CM and the issue was discussed. He immediately directed the DSE-Jammu for to get the issue of fee overcharging inquired and submit the report.

Dy. CM asserted that it is a crime and let the inquiry be conducted, “Not only suspension, if required the responsible will be terminated.’

Moreover, the Dy. CM further said that there is a government procedure to issue a proper receipt against the payments of any kind, and people should get the receipt against the money they pay.

Relevant to mention here that, sources informed that same fee has been charged during 2011 and 2012 we are investigation besides mid day meal, scam, service book scam, attachments scam, mid day meal logo painting scam, school building construction and repair scams,  and fake punctuality of teachers scam… and much more.

Stay tuned— Next coming up with further outcome of our in-depth investigations.

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