Mrunal Manmay Dash

As Odisha continues to struggle to arrest the dropout rate in the government-run schools, another hurdle has marred the education in the Central government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas in the State.

As per a report in The New Indian Express, at least three Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in the State are running from temporary buildings while another is languishing in neglect due to alleged lack of support from the Odisha government.

While the central schools at Murgabadi in Mayurbhanj district, (KV No- 2) in Cuttack, and Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district, which are functioning since 2010–11, are operating from temporary buildings, the KV at Champua in Keonjhar district, announced in 2016–17, is yet to become functional, said the TNIE report.

According to KVS sources, the district administration of Mayurbhanj pledged eight acres of land for the Murgabadi school in 2011, but it has not yet been transferred. Similarly, the Cuttack administration identified eight acres of property tract in 2016, but it has still not been transferred to the KVS.

In the case of Bhanjanagar KV, the 8.87-acre of land provided by the administration is the subject of a legal dispute because a portion of it is deemed as forest land. It is not possible to transfer the land without converting its type.

Similarly, in Champua, a suitable patch of land, after identification by the district administration in 2016, was later found by the State government to be belonging to the forest department. Champua was among the two KVs sanctioned in 2016-17 for Keonjhar; the second one at Anandapur is expected to function soon.

A network of 1,252 Kendriya Vidyalayas, both domestic and overseas is managed by the Kendriya Vidyalays Sangathan (KVS), an independent organisation supported by the Education Ministry's Department of School Education and Literacy. In Odisha, there are 66 KVs.

Although the state government, as the sponsoring authority, is supposed to give suitable and adequate land free of cost in accordance with KVS land standards, the land provisions for four such schools have not yet been made. According to the terms and conditions agreed upon at the time of opening of KVs under the civil sector, the State government is supposed to provide the same as early as possible.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Kumar, the union secretary of the Department of School Education and Literacy, has urged Odisha Chief Secretary PK Jena to personally look into the situation and ask the concerned authorities to hand over the property for these KVs within six months so that appropriate infrastructure can be built for the education of the students.