New Delhi: It's a revenue generation plan that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi(MCD) in finding tough to explain. Last week the civic body sent a list of 15 schools to the MCD recommending they be auctioned to private developers for construction of shopping malls and hotels.
"Revenue worth crores will come in, malls can be made, community centers can be made, we have decided to commercialise 15 of these schools," says commissioner, education committee, MCD, Prithviraj Sahni.
But after a media uproar, the corporation has done a complete volte-face.
"It’s a tilted statement, actually it is very true that 60 sites of the education department are lying vacant. Those should be used by different departments like Community service department," says MCD official, Prithviraj Sahni.
But the truth is, MCD's original plan of selling off 60 schools run by it would have fetched them crores.
15 of them are spread over 1 acre or more, and in Delhi, the land is priced at an average of Rupees 70,000 per sq ft. That means one acre of land could fetch the MCD a whopping 32crore rupees.
This MCD School in Kashmere gate is one of three in the same area to be shut down in the last one year. Hinting at the fact that this could have been a planned drive by the MCD to clear out spaces for developers where no fresh land is available.
Why else would the MCD not revive these schools, despite the fact that a government survey says 5 lakh children in the city have no access to primary education? Because the MCD claims, children aren’t enrolling!
"Due to the non-availability of the proper number of students there is some sort of merging that we have done between two schools so the space is vacant," says MCD official, Vijendra Gupta.
The issue has turned political now, with the congress government gunning for the BJP led corporation
"This is very strange and otherwise also not lawful," says, minister, Delhi Govt, Arvinder Singh Lovely.
With schools in prime areas like Ashok Nagar, RK Puram, Pitampura, and Rajouri Garden making their way to the list, it is not difficult to see why MCD is so keen to sell them off.