Dera education board’s accounts frozen over dubious land deal
PESHAWAR, Jan 9: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department has frozen bank accounts of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dera Ismail Khan, and stopped it from buying a piece of land for a development project, sources said.
The DIK Board was about to release Rs72 million a few days ago when the higher authorities acted to stop it from acquiring 60 kanals for constructing a new building to house the board, according to official sources.
They said that the board chairman, Prof. Noor Mohammad, had not involved officials of the education department in the process to purchase the land, which was against the rules.
The sources claimed that the maximum price of the selected land was not over Rs0.6 million per kanal, while the chairman was about to release the money at the rate of Rs1.2 million per kanal to the landowner when the board’s accounts were frozen.
They said that the education department had now proposed to Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti to order an inquiry and take disciplinary action against the chairman or refer the case to National Accountability Bureau.
According to procedure, it was obligatory for the board chairman to select a few sites for construction of the new building and select one of them with the approval of the E&SE secretary, said an official of the education department.
Similarly, a purchase committee was supposed to fix price of the land, the official said and added that according to rules the committee was to be headed by land acquisition officer with representatives of communication and works department, E&SE department and DIK board as its members. He said that once price of the selected land was fixed it had to be conveyed to the education department.
The official said that neither the education department was informed about selection of the site nor proper procedure was adopted for the land deal, as there was no representation of education and communication and works department on the purchase committee.
He said that besides the site being selected by the board chairman was not feasible because it was about 23 kilometres away from DI Khan city. As students frequently visit the boards for submission of forms and receiving detail marks certificates it would have been difficult for them, particularly for girl students, to visit the board offices at such a far away place, the official source said.
When contacted, DI Khan BISE chairman Prof Noor Mohammad told Dawn that the education department should be thankful to him for purchasing the land on lesser rate than fixed by the revenue department. He said that the officials concerned had fixed the price of land at Rs1.5 million per kanal in view of the record of land prices in the area. However, he said that he negotiated with the landowner and finalised the deal at Rs1.2 million per kanal.
“The chief minister had given me approval for the land purchase and I was asked to purchase the land through district officer revenue (DOR),” the BISE chairman said when asked about the purchase committee. He added that as a precautionary measure, he had formed a purchase committee comprising one teacher from Gomal University, DI Khan, and two teachers each from a local college and school.
“I had sent the names of these teachers to the secretary education four months ago for approval, but no response was given till date,” he said.