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`Maintenance money can be used to replace thatched roofs'

By Our Special Correspondent

VILLUPURAM, JULY 27. The State Government has granted permission to the Education Department to utilise funds sanctioned for `maintenance and repair' to replace thatched sheds in government high schools and higher secondary schools with non-flammable materials.

The Chief Educational Officer of Villupuram, S. Kannappan, told The Hindu that the department had stepped up efforts make schools conform to the deadline -- July 30 -- set by the Government to make all schools fire-proof.

Funds released

He said there were 22 government-run high schools and 14 higher secondary schools in the district. For maintenance, the government had already released funds in two instalments— Rs 30 lakhs in April and Rs 20 lakhs last week— and the expenses for replacing thatched roofs would be met from this.

The fire-proofing would be implemented through the Public Works Departments, and the preparation of estimates for each of these schools was now underway, he said. In the 30 government-run primary schools, alternative locations such as community centres and Self-Help Group buildings had been assigned to conduct classes until they got their own buildings. Mr Kannappan said that already seven primary school buildings had been constructed under the Sarva Siksha Abiyan (Education for All) programme. Every village would be allotted funds for construction of two classrooms , he said.

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