Throwing guidelines to wind, high schools in Odisha run hostels on school campus

Puri: Even though the Odisha government has prohibited high schools from running hostels since 2011, several schools in Puri district were found flouting the guidelines unabated.

An exclusive report by OTV highlights many high schools in Arabanga, Biratunga and Balikapileswar under Gop block in the district illegally running hostels on the school premises.

Despite being aware of the guidelines on restriction of running hostels, the school authorities have not taken any steps to stop the practice.

“The hostel has been in operation since I joined this school. The government has stopped renewal of permission to run our hostel but we are yet to receive any written order in this regard,” said Head Master of Arabanga High School, Dilip Kumar Dalei.

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Similarly, Head Master of Biratunga Sishu Mandir School said,  “ We had got permanent order from the government to run hostels. We are regularly applying for renewal but the District Education Officer is yet to respond.”

The schools are charging Rs 17,000 to Rs 20,000 annually from each student as coaching, boarding and lodging fees. They have even, privately hired some people to look after the hostels and are dispensing salary to them from the hostel expenses being met from students’ collection.

However, the managing committee of these schools have been taking a tough stance against closure of hostels in the schools.

“If hostels can be opened and run in schools in tribal areas, why can’t these  be opened in schools here when we have all the required infrastructure, questioned a member of the managing committee, Narendra Chandra Pradhan.

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Meanwhile, Puri DEO Salila Sethy has said that action will be taken against the three schools for running hostels without permission from the competent authority.