Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though transparency is one of the factors as claimed by the Odisha government under its much-vaunted 5T initiative, it is alleged that a contractor’s bill is yet to be cleared even one year after completing a project at Dahapada village under Sahadevkhunta police station in Balasore district.

Irked over this, the concerned contractor allegedly locked the gate of Chintamani High School on Tuesday. As a result, the conduct of regular teaching was adversely affected at the 5T school.

The contractor has been identified as Ashok Kumar Behera.

As per reports, Behera completed the transformation of Chintamani High School under the 5T school initiative in the district last year. However, his bills are yet to be cleared by the concerned authorities.

With no other option, Behera locked the school gate as a mark of protest.

“There was an expenditure of around Rs 70 to Rs 80 lakh in the 5T transformation school project. However, I have received only Rs 40 lakh to 50 lakh so far. Though I am running from pillar to post to get back the rest of the amount, nobody is paying any attention to my ordeal,” said Behera.

“I had no alternative left but to lock the school. I will only unlock the school after getting assurances from the higher authorities regarding the clearance of the pending bill. I don’t have any other motive,” he added.

Study at the school was severely affected due to the bizarre incident. Even, the students of classes VII, IX and X along with the teachers were forced to sit outside the school for two hours.

However, the school was eventually unlocked following the intervention of higher authorities. The contractor has been given assurances about the clearance of his bills. The higher officials have also assured to launch an investigation into the incident.