**Bhubaneswar**: Tata Steel would construct 30 model schools in 30 blocks across Odisha at a cost of around Rs 130 crore to bring quality education infrastructure to the students in far flung areas of the State.
They will come up in 30 blocks of seven districts in the State. Nine of them would be in Jajpur district, eight in Cuttack, five in Ganjam, three each in Keonjhar and Sundergarh districts.
Nayagarh and Dhenkanal districts will have one school each.
The steelmaker has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the School and Mass Education Department here at State Secretariat today.
Briefing reporters here after the MoU was signed, School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said, “We have formally signed the MoU with Tata Steel today and discussed the details about the project. The company had already started construction works at nine places as per their commitment with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.”
As per the agreement, Tata Steel will spend Rs 4 crore to construct each school and about Rs 33 lakh to be provided for the equipment purpose towards each model school.
According to Tata Steel sources, it will be part of a project of Odisha Government to set up model schools in each revenue block. Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), a Tata Steel subsidiary company, will be responsible for the project.
After completion of construction, the schools will be handed over to the State Government. Tata Steel will also provide furniture.
Official sources said 100 model schools have already been running from 2016-17 academic session in 14 districts out of the announced 162 such schools to boost quality education in the remote areas of the State.
“I am very happy that today we formally signed an MoU with Odisha Government with the presence of Ministers and Secretaries for 30 schools at economically backward districts in Odisha,” said Tata Steel Vice President (Corporate Services) Sunil Bhaskaran.
He also informed that 2-3 schools are almost ready and construction works of other school are going on in full-swing. We are expecting that by March 2017, we will hand over around 8 schools and will complete the construction works of other schools soon.
It must be mentioned here that Odisha Government had earmarked to spend around Rs 2981.51 crore in the next five years to build model schools in 97 blocks in the State.
Besides Tata Steel, state-run Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has also taken the responsibility to build 25 of such schools under its corporate social responsibility programme.
Reaffirming the company’s commitment to partner in the progress of Odisha, Bhaskaran said the company will take more such initiatives in the education and social sectors in the State in the coming days.