'Everyone is on Leave': Surprise Visit to School Shocks Maharashtra Minister

Maharashtra Minister Rajkumar Badole at a school where he found no students or teachers during an inspection

Nagpur:

A minister's surprise visit to a school in Maharashtra for the mentally challenged has left him in shock.

On Wednesday, state Social Justice minister Rajkumar Badole walked into the Aashray Residential School near Nagpur to be told that every student and teacher is on leave.

There are around 80 mentally challenged students and 25 teachers and other staff in the school. But only on paper, the minister soon found out.

A few workers from other hostels that operate in the same premises offered this explanation: "Everyone may be out on leave."

The minister was justifiably baffled. "All of them have gone on leave...This is quite strange, isn't it?" he asked, taking a stroll through the empty classrooms and corridors.

There are over 120 residential schools in Maharashtra for the mentally challenged, and Mr Badole said he will now investigate how many really exist.

The other hostels in the complex are not much better.

At another residential school, Swavlamban, there are a dozen children though 50 is the sanctioned strength.

Officials say the minister's visit has revealed one example of a massive swindle involving fake enrollments and schools on paper, which cost the government crores every year.

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