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Jalandhar

Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 12:58 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 1:00 AM (IST)

Financial anomalies in sports tournament of Education Dept

Despite no notification issued by govt, participants being charged match fee

Rachna Khaira

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 13

In what may turn out to be a scam that could run in crores, financial irregularities were today reported during the inter-zonal-cum-district level tournament by the district Education Department.

To begin with, officials of the department were found to have charged match fee and the referee fee from the schools who participated in the tournament. Though when asked, officials failed to produce any notification or order by the state government that has made it mandatory for the players, including those who are poor and are studying in government schools, to deposit the fee.

The district is presently divided into 16 zones, both for the girls and the boys categories. While there are over 100 schools in each zone, around 25 to 30 schools participate actively in various sports tournaments many a times in a year at the zonal, district as well as the state level. The collection of participation fee from so many institutions for many years means that the collection fund runs in crores.

Shoddy receipts raise suspicion

Shockingly, when this correspondent checked the records, huge financial anomalies were found. While it is the District Tournament Committee that actually exists on record who would conduct the tournament organised by the Education Department, the receipts for both the entry fee as well as the referee fee were issued by the ‘Distt Elementary and Secondary Schools’.

When asked, Assistant Education Officer Harbinder Singh could not give a favourable reply as to why the names written in the official record and the one written on the printed receipts were different.

Also some of the original receipts in possession of The Tribune did not mention whether the organisation is a private organisation or a wing of the district Education Department. Also, at many places, the officials though have collected up to Rs 800 from the participating school, it has issued a receipt of Rs 600 only. The receipts also failed to mention the name and designation of the signing authority.

No refreshments, fare

As per the sSports policy of the Education Department, though it is mandatory to provide daily refreshment and to and fro fare to all the participants of various tournaments conducted by the Punjab government, many coaches and children have claimed that they were not provided so by the department.

When asked, Singh informed that it is the duty of the respective schools to provide both the facilities to students. He said that since The Tribune has highlighted the matter, he will seek report from all the schools.

Players of private schools steal the show

Even though the tournament was reported to have been conducted by the Punjab State Education Board, it turned out to a private show completely. From the participants to the winners and even coaches and selection panels too were found to have been formed from the staff members of private schools.

Despite the availability of state-of-the-art sports facilities of various games at sports excellence centres run by the Sports Department, the Education Department could not make use of it.

When asked, AEO (Sports) Harbinder Singh informed that since the private schools do not charge anything for providing coach and playground facilities as against the Sports Department which charges over Rs 5,000 for a place, the department prefers to take support from the former for government tournaments.

Interestingly, some players while claiming partial treatment, also alleged that majority of the winners are the same school which either held the tournament at their venue or had provided coaches in the selection panel.

When contacted, DEO (Secondary) Neelam Kumari said, “The collection of match fee and referee fee from schools and players is not something that has started recently. The tradition is on for the last many years. The non-availability of the record or any notification with us does not mean that the officials are doing it of their own. I will probe the matter thoroughly.”

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