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Irked with the decision of the Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation to spend Rs 30 lakh out of Rs 50 lakh schools’ sports budget for a cricket tournament, the Bombay High Court rued the state of affairs in state-run schools, which earlier used to be role models.

A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and K K Tated was recently hearing a petition filed by one Sharad Patil, challenging the corporation’s decision to make available funds to the tune of Rs 30 lakh for a ten-day cricket tournament ‘Mahapor Chasak’ scheduled to start from January 26.

The tournament will see the participation of 70 local area teams.

Appearing for the corporation, advocate R S Apte said the tournament is being conducted since ten years.

The court was informed by the petitioner that out of Rs 50 lakh budget for sports events in schools only Rs 20 lakh will be utilised by the schools.

Observing that prima facie the budget allocation was disproportionate, the court told, “We are surprised to notice that out of the Rs 50 lakh budget, the corporation has decided to spend Rs 30 lakh on a single cricket tournament which is not connected to any school.”

“It is shocking to see the corporation spend such a huge amount for a cricket tournament when the schools are suffering from lack of basic infrastructure. Public schools used to be role models earlier for other private schools but now look at their state of affairs,” the bench said.

Following the corporation’s assurance that in future the budget allocation will be reconsidered with no extravagant expenditure, the court said it would not interfere with this year’s tournament.

However, the court told it would examine the issue further to see whether some officers could be made accountable and the money can be reimbursed.

The petitioner also stated that a sum of Rs 25,000 is collected as entry fee from each team despite which such a huge fund is being disbursed by the corporation.

The matter will be heard further on February 18.

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