Madrassa Funding Row Turns Murkier14 December 2011
Srinagar: The controversy over funding of Madrassas in Jammu and Kashmir is getting murkier with more details about the alleged financial discrepancies and beneficiaries coming to the fore. While State School Education Department said on Tuesday that it has ordered release of Rs 3.47 crore to 362 Madrassas across JK, it is in contradiction to the revelations by Union Human Resources Development Ministry that it had sanctioned over Rs 5 crore for 372 Madrassas for 2010-11 after receiving a formal proposal from the state. There are further disclosures that the Ministry has sanctioned Rs 7 crore for the Madrassas for the current financial year- something the state government is tightlipped about. Putting the Department of School Education in the dock, many of the Madrassas incorporated in the list forwarded to the HRD Ministry are out-rightly denying having received any funding, while some institutions shown in the list actually do not exist on ground. A notification issued by the Commissioner Secretary School Education department vide order number 692-Edu 2011 on December 9, 2011 ordered release of central assistance of Rs 3,47,85,000 in favor of Directors of School Education of Kashmir-Jammu for further release to 362 Madrassas for providing quality education and incurring expenditure on salary, teaching learning material, establishment of library and science- computer labs-workshops to fulfillment of the laid down conditions. However, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has already released an amount of Rs 5,38, 60,000 for 372 Madrassas in 2010-11 and Rs 7 lakh for this fiscal after receiving formal proposal from state government, the ministry revealed in response to an RTI application by Muhammad Sadiq Paswal of Channi Kamala, Jammu. “The proposal regarding financial assistance to 372 Madrassas will obviously have been forwarded to HRD Ministry after administrative approval. It cannot happen in isolation,” said an official. Asked about difference in the number of institutions (372) communicated to HRD Ministry for providing financial benefits, and actual number (362) of Madrassas quoted by the department in a statement released to press, he said it was for the higher authorities to explain. Commissioner-Secretary Education, Naseema Lanker, said due to some “mistake” the list forwarded to HRD authorities showed higher number of institutions. “There is repetition of some names in the list. It has been clarified now,” she said. However, when asked that HRD Ministry had released funds for 372 and not 362 institutions, she evaded direct answer. “The money is routed to us through Finance Department. We only issue sanction. It (extra money) is in government kitty and there is nothing to worry about,” she said and dropped the phone. As of now there is no clear cut response from the government on different queries like why did not the state clarify till now to the HRD Ministry about the actual number of institutions getting benefited. Why Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayed ordered fresh verification of the institutions, the list of whom was forwarded some time back to HRD ministry for funding? Even the minister had ordered the DSEs to “to verify the authenticity of all 372 Madrassas which are recommended for seeking financial aid from Central Ministry under various financial aid schemes to various educational institutions.” “Rs 5, 38, 60,000 was sent last year to the Jammu and Kashmir government through Additional Secretary (Education), Government of Jammu and Kashmir for implementation of scheme for providing quality education in Madrassas (SPQEM). This year also Rs 7 crore has been funded against 372 Madrassas,” the HRD Ministry said in the RTI response. It had also released the list of 372 Madrassas. Following the revelations, heads of different institutions shown in the list have come forward, denying out rightly having received any financial assistance. Many institutions run by Karwan-i-Islami have also been shown as beneficiaries in the list. However the organization has taken strong note of it and is demanding a thorough probe in the “scam.” We have not received any such grant nor applied for the same this year or last year,” the organization chairman Maulana Ghulam Rasool Hami told Greater Kashmir. “If fake Darul-Ulooms have received such grants or funds have been withdrawn on their name, it is a serious matter and a thorough probe should be launched to bring culprits to book.” He said it is the responsibility of the government to find out how crores of rupees were withdrawn in favor of these institutes. Among the beneficiaries, 45 Madrassas in Rajouri district of Jammu region tops the list followed by South Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) district with 44 Madrassas. Doda has 32 Madrassas while Budgam district 29, Baramulla and Ramban districts 24 each and Reasi district two Madrassas. A preliminary investigation has revealed that the list contains names of villages and shrines also. As per the list, Islamabad (Anantnag) district has, at serial number one, name of village-Aishwukam- where funds are being provided for salary of two teachers to the tune of Rs 1.44 lakh per year and Rs 50,000 have been earmarked for library, Rs 15,000 for teacher learning material. But there is no mention of the Madrassa which is getting the funds. At serial number four, the HRD Ministry list mentions name of Darululoom Ashimuqaam getting funds of more than Rs two lakh. However, Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board, which manages the affairs of this Darululoom denied receiving such amount from the state or the Central government. “Not at all. There is no funding of HRD ministry to our institutes. We have not received any funding for this Darululoom or any other Waqaf-run institute,” Vice-Chairman of the Waqaf Board, MY Qadri told Greater Kashmir.