VEHARI: Private school owners are being forced to pay specific amounts as donation for the temporarily dislocated people of North Waziristan or pay fine.

On Tuesday, private colleges and schools affiliated with the Multan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) received SMSs from Rana Tehseen, focal person for the donation collection centre of temporarily dislocated people, that they needed to submit donation amounts so that the government helps the people of Waziristan.

When contacted, Tehseen admitted he had sent messages and that another message would be sent to school owners next week. He said a letter (240/ASG) dated July 8 had already been dispatched from the office of the Multan BISE to private schools. He said a fine would be imposed on those who fail to submit the amount or cheque for the displaced people.

He said each college was required to donate Rs10,000 through a cheque for the Chief Minister’s Relief Funds. He said private schools were to donate Rs5,000 for the fund. School owners have received the message with a grimace of disgust over the forced collection of donation calling it unjustified.

Vehari Private Schools Association President M Aslam Kamlana told Dawn they would gladly help the displaced brethren without government’s dictate.

“All schools owners cannot afford to spare Rs10,000 when Eid is around,” he said.

He said any action against private institutions by the government would be illegal. He warned they would launch a protest drive if board officials took any action against any school or college.

Not only private schools, those serving in government schools have also been told by the executive district officer (education) to contribute Rs2,000 each to Punjab government’s fund.

Source said every government middle school head would contribute Rs2,000 and primary school head Rs1,000 to the fund.

Government schoolteacher Abdul Rahim and some other teachers, seeking anonymity, rejected the forced collection of funds calling it a form of extortion.

Mr Rahim said government employees, who got a 10 per cent raise in the budget, could hardly make ends meet.

Teachers said they would not follow “illegal, verbal directives”.

EDO Mukhtar Chawan said he had asked teachers to contribute to the IDPs’ fund voluntarily. He said he was just passing on the orders of senior officials. He said the education department was banking on private schools for the fund targets.

Published in Dawn, July 25th , 2014