According to KMC records, approximately 100 out of 243 schools have been given on rent. While some hire KMC school rooms for conducting wedding ceremony, others do so for performing the last rites of a person. There are also some NGOs that have set up their offices in such school rooms.
The monthly rent for one school room varies from Rs 400 to 600 per month.
The civic officials, however, express ignorance about the existence of any such provision in the rules and regulations of the KMC that validates leasing out schools for the said purposes.
“I am not very sure about this. So, I cannot comment on the issue now. I have to check the KMC rules and regulations,” said Kalyani Mitra, Member Mayor-in-Council, Education.
While a KMC primary school at 5, Cornfield Road has rented a portion of it to Patha Bhavan, the one at 3, Goaltuli Road has also been leased out to Calcutta Girls’ College in a similar manner.
The authorities of these schools face a lot of difficulties in conducting classes, as their timings clash with those that have rented their premises.
A few days ago, a group of teachers from the Goaltuli Road school submitted a deputation to Sahidul Islam, the joint municipal commissioner (education) and narrated the problems faced by them.
“There is no proper demarcation between the school and the college premises. As a result there are disturbances during school hours. The college students keep on disturbing the school kids. We have repeatedly asked the college authorities to take necessary action, but to no avail. Instead the staff of the schools gets harassed by errant students,” said a non-teaching staff of the school on the condition of anonymity.
“Many problems have risen because of the improper demarcation of space. So we have stopped renting out KMC schools and cancelled many registrations. At present, we have around 60 schools that have been rented to some organisation or institution,” said a civic official of the education department.
One civic official alleged that often the education department is forced to hand over some rooms of a school without any rent.
“Many times we receive an application asking for permission to use a school building for social service like educating street children or using it to hold a blood donation camp. But to our dismay, we found the school is being used as a marriage hall. We cannot take any steps because we received the order from the higher authority,” a civic official said.
“In one particular case the KMC had discovered that the rented room is being occupied by a couple who are living together. When they tried to take action, the local councilor asked them not to proceed,” the official added.