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Monday, 31 August 2020

Rs8.47 cr loss to government as 9 private-run ITIs fail to pay lease amount

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30

The Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training has incurred a loss of Rs 8.47 crore owing to its failure to recover lease money from private societies operating nine Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for the past 12 years from leased-out government buildings across the state.

The revelation has been made during the audit by the office of Principal Accountant General (Audit), Punjab. Under the commercial public private partnership, an agreement was signed between the department and private educational societies during the previous tenure of Capt Amarinder Singh in 2004. The private players were to undertake the development, upgrade, operations and management of constructed or unconstructed ITIs.

Each ITI had a strength of 300 students. The department allowed the private society to increase the academic fee in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The increased money charged from students, exceeding 300, had to be shared with the department. But it was not done, resulting in accumulation of Rs 8.47 crore till March 2020.

Even though the connivance of officials with the promoters resulted in non-recovery of money, no action was taken against erring officials. In 2018, only notice of intention to terminate the agreement to liquidate the arrears was issued.

Short of funds, the then Capt Amarinder Singh government had, in 2004, leased out nine government ITIs to private players for 33 years. As per the agreement signed between the government and private players, the lessees had to complete the infrastructure, get approval for courses as per their requirement and pay the lease money (termed as concession fee).

Another point of contention is that two of the nine lessees — Shyama Shyam Society, Benarshi, and Guru Angad Dev Soceity, Khadoor Sahib — contested that because of the delay in completing the formalities, the lease money should be charged from August 2008 instead of August 2005. Based on a report of a departmental committee, then Technical Education Minister Anil Joshi had changed the date of operation of the agreement. The same benefit, however, was not given to seven other ITIs.

Only notice to erring private players

  • In 2018, only notice of intention to terminate the agreement to liquidate the arrears was issued after non-recovery of lease money from private players for the past 12 years
  • Then Capt Amarinder Singh government in 2004 had leased out nine government Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to private players for 33 years for operations and management

from The Tribune

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