How scholarship cash eludes Dalit students

Gokul Vannan

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 14 Aug 2010 03:17:07 AM ISTLast
Updated : 14 Aug 2010 10:20:03 AM IST

CHENNAI: When S Perumal found that a post-matric scholarship he won
did not reach him, the Dalit student managed to mobilise funds through
his relatives and complete his plus-one in 2007-08.

The next year, he learned the money was pocketed his own teacher by
forging the signature of the boy’s (late) father. ''That is when I
lost heart,” the teenager from Athiyanthal says, adding that he found
no option then but to discontinue education.

Perumal’s is just one of such stories Dalit students face in
Tiruvanamalai district, which has 9,000 Dalit students and 150
schools; 110 of them government-run.

The Dalit Liberation Movement, which stumbled upon the story through
an RTI application, learned that many teachers in Tiruvannamalai do

S Karuppaiah, general secretary of the Madurai-based organisation,
says district authorities have themselves failed to pay the
scholarship to many students during the past two years.

A Chelladurai, another student who was cheated the same way, unveils
another layer to the story. “Students cannot raise this issue, because
if they do it they will be failed in the practicals.”

Not surprisingly, a Class XII boy pleads anonymity when says he did
not receive his scholarship money. “My parents are daily-wagers.  We
are struggling.”

Deepa of Pavupattu village passed her Class XII exa­ms last year
without obtaining her scholarship. “My mother borrowed money to meet
the expenses.”

Recently, these students met Tiruvannamalai district collector M
Rajendran and filed a complaint. They also sent petitions to the Chief
Minister Cell and the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department,  but have found
no action taken so far.

Karuppaiah says he even sent a petition to the National Commission for
Scheduled Caste on the issue, but that was directed to the district
Adi-Dravidar Welfare and Tribal Welfare office.

District authorities say it requires an additional sanction of Rs 4
crore to clear the scholarship backlog.


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