TODAY -

Suspended ZEOs, DI allege pressure from MLAs, CoTU, KSO
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, February 05 2024: In a recent development, three senior officers of the education department, who were suspended on January 12, have issued written apologies to the government authorities for issuing No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for affiliation of some schools with CBSE without adhering to due process.

The officers, in their letters to the state government, claimed they issued the NOCs under pressure from six MLAs and CSOs belonging to Kuki community like CoTU, KSO and others.

According to a report published by NDTV, the letters revealed that four MLAs from Churachandpur district and two from Kangpokpi district had asked the two ZEOs and one DI of School to issue the NOCs to the schools for affiliation with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) .

The CBSE, on December 20, 2023, had revoked the affiliation of 25 schools located in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts, after the state government brought up the matter citing issuance of the NOCs without approval.

According to the CBSE bylaws, obtaining NOCs from the state government is mandatory requirement for affiliation.

On January 12, the state government suspended ZEOs (Kangpokpi) Lhingtinneng Singsit, and (Churachandpur) Jangkhohao Haokip along with deputy inspector (DI) of Samulamlan block under ZEO Churachandpur L Taithu.

The suspension order said that the NOCs submitted by the 25 schools to CBSE for affiliation were not issued by authorised functionaries of the government, and the education minister had submitted a written complaint regarding the matter to CBSE on December 16, 2023.In their apology letters, the education officers acknowledged awareness about violating procedures but emphasised their inability to resist external pressure due to the ongoing ethnic conflict, which had disrupted government services, including education, and departmental communication protocols.

Churachandpur ZEO, Jangkhohao Haokip, in his letter dated December 29, cited pressure he faced amid the crisis.

Initially denying requests for CBSE affiliation, he later succumbed to pressure from vari ous sources, including parents, student bodies, civil society organisations, and elected representatives.

Jangkhohao, who was appointed as in-charge ZEO for Churachandpur, said that he was compelled to append signatures for two schools under duress.

He also enclosed letters written to him by four Kuki-Zo MLAs - Letzamang Haokip, Paolienlal Haokip, Chinlunthang, and LM Khaute.

In her letter of apology, Kangpokpi ZEO, Lhingtinneng Singsit cited directives from the Kuki-Zo Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU), Kuki Students' Organisation (KSO) Sadar Hills, parents, and minister Nemcha Kipgen and MLA Kimneo Hangshing in issuing the NOC.

Despite advising the Sadar Hills Private Schools' Association to approach the competent authority, they insisted on district-level clearance, she claimed.

Feeling compelled, she proceeded but reiterated about the proper channel through the competent authority for doing so.

She also enclosed letters from MLAs Nemcha Kipgen and Kimneo Hangshing, requesting the NOCs.

Deputy Inspector of School for Churachandpur's Samulamlan block, L Taithul, also elaborated on acting "under pressure" in his apology letter to the government.

He cited pressure from MLAs, CSOs, and student groups to issue NOCs for CBSE affiliation on behalf of the incapacitated Churachandpur ZEO during the crisis.

Taithul, while expressing regret in his letter, said that he initially turned down the requests due to a lack of authority but succumbed to pressure and issued the NOCs.

The four Kuki-Zo MLAs who requested the deputy inspector of school to issue the NOCs were Letzamang Haokip, Paolienlal Haokip, Chinlunthang, and LM Khaute.

Sources said that the government had acknowledged that the officers were under immense pressure during the violence, leading to the breach of departmental procedures related to NOC issuance, reported the NTDV.


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