OKCL scam: Centre seeks explanation from Mass Edn dept

Bhubaneswar: The Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry has sought an explanation from the Odisha Mass Education department regarding allegation of corruption at the Odisha Knowledge Corporation Ltd (OKCL).

The action came after former chief minister Giridhar Gamang levelled allegations of corruption at OKCL, which was set up in August 2011 in the State with an aim to create new paradigm in education and development through universalization and integration of Information Technology (IT) in teaching, learning and educational management processes in particular and socio-economic transformative processes in general.

The Mass Education department has also asked the Rashtriya Madhyamik Sikhshya’s State Project Director to submit the required information within January 10.

BJP spokesperson Sameer Mohanty said, “Rs 200 crore were sanctioned, of which the State government provided Rs 177 crore to the OKCL. People want to know why the OKCL was setup and why it contracted work to IL&FS. We demand CBI investigation into the allegations as well as a reply from the Chief Minister on where the money went.”

Refuting the charges OKCL MD Santosh Birari said, “The allegation is wrong. This is a transparent organization without occurrence of any scam. Besides, we have sent a legal notice to the vendor IL&FS. I can guarantee that strict action will be taken against the vendor who has neglected its duty.”

OKCL, which was assigned to provide computer education in 4,000 schools of the State, has contracted its work to TCIL and IL&FS.

Meanwhile, the State government appointed the Higher Education Secretary as OKCL chairperson while the Mass Education Secretary has become director of the organization.

OKCL was established as a joint venture promoted by the state Higher Education department and Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited, Pune. It has 200 Authorized Learning Centres (ALCs) that offer various courses and examination preparation series to ambitious learners.