Chandigarh, Sep 29: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday said that one lakh Scheduled Caste students had been denied admission into colleges in Punjab due to the state government’s refusal to release Rs 327 crore received from the Centre for this purpose more than three months back, even as it said the situation had become alarming, with Dalit students protesting against this injustice across the state.
In a statement here, former chief parliamentary secretary and Adampur legislator Pawan Kumar Teenu said even as one lakh scheduled caste students, out of a total of 3.15 lakh students had been denied admission into private colleges across the state, while those who had been granted admission were being forced to pay the fee from their own pocket.
He further added that this was being done despite a circular from the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry to the Punjab government, asking it to direct all institutions regarding the extension of the date for depositing the fee of all scheduled caste students, till the scholarship amount is transferred into their account. “Despite such instructions, these students are being forced to pay their fee because the Congress government has neither issued any strict instructions in this regard to the colleges, nor have they released Rs 323 crore lying with it”, Teenu added.
Stating that the minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, was directly responsible for this state for affairs, the Akali leader said the minister should come clean and explain why he had allowed money meant for the scholarship to be misused for other purposes.
He added that earlier in 2017, the Centre had released Rs 117 crore for the state as per the SC scholarship scheme.
“The Social Justice Ministry has been constantly asking the Punjab government to submit utilization certificates and become eligible for more funds under this scheme, but the state government is refusing to do this. This gross discrimination shows the Congress party does not have any concern for Dalits and has befooled them to get their votes in the last Assembly elections by promising a hefty increase in all the social welfare benefits”.
Teenu also asked the Congress Minister for Scheduled Caste Welfare to submit a complete report to the Centre, regarding the auditing of private colleges done by his Ministry, as this was also coming in the way of releasing funds to the state. “Dharamsot had announced that private colleges misappropriated Rs 500 crore but has failed to submit a detailed report in this regard to either the Centre or the Vidhan Sabha. He should do this immediately, recover the dues and provide the same to the Dalit students”.
The SAD leader demanded a high level inquiry into the working of the Welfare of SC Ministry, adding that the scheduled caste students, especially girls, were protesting against the injustice being inflicted on them but the Congress government was not doing anything to mitigate their problems. He also urged the Union Social Justice Ministry to direct the state government to release the funds received by it immediately and also create a mechanism to release the same, directly into the beneficiary accounts from the Union Ministry itself without any involvement of Punjab government. (UNI)