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Updated: May 1, 2012 17:18 IST

Nursing student's death triggers protest

Staff Reporter
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Sruthy alias Athira. Photo: Special Arrangement
Sruthy alias Athira. Photo: Special Arrangement

Denial of education loan alleged; AIYF, DYFI workers take out rally

A second-year B.Sc. (Nursing) student who had attempted suicide on April 17 and was under treatment at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital died on Monday.

The police said Sruthy (Athira), a student of Sri Chaitanya College of Nursing, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, had consumed pesticide after her application for an education loan was allegedly turned down by a new generation bank.

AIYF and DYFI activists took out a march to the HDFC Bank branch at Pulinchuvadu, Kudamaloor, in protest against the incident.

According to Sreeshyle, the victim's brother, the request for loan of Rs.3 lakh, which was pending from June 2011, was sanctioned on April 18, 2012 immediately after the news of her consuming poison spread.

Sruthy, daughter of Sreekanth of ‘Gopika' House at Kudamaloor who worked as a driver of a school bus, had passed out in March 2011 from the local government school and had secured admission at the self-financing nursing college in Tirupati. She had one supplementary, which she passed through Save a Year (SAY) scheme. She had applied for education loan at the local HDFC bank branch as it was the designated branch, Mr. Sreeshyle said.

The bank however, denied their request on two counts: one, they had an outstanding loan amount of Rs.33,333 and two, that she had failed in one subject.

According to Mr. Sreeshyle, their mother had availed herself of a loan for Rs.30,000 under the Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) scheme in 2008 from Lord Krishna Bank (which had merged with the HDFC Bank through the HDFC-Centurion Banks merger). According to him, they had repaid the loan. However, the bank claimed they had an outstanding amount of more than Rs. 30,000, which was paid as lumpsum amount in December 2011.

On account of the delay, the family had mobilised Rs.1 lakh and taken admission at the college in the hope that the loan would be sanctioned by the time the second instalment of fee was due. Loan applications of all her friends were passed by the time the second year classes began, but since her loan had not been sanctioned, Sruthy did not attend college even after the second year classes had begun three months back. There was no pressure on the part of the college authorities, he said.

She took the extreme step on April 17 when she was alone at her home. Her father had gone to Mookambika on pilgrimage, brother was in Kochi at his workplace and mother, at a neighbour's house.

Meanwhile the district authorities have sought a report from the Additional District Magistrate on the issues that led to the tragedy. The District Collector has also sought a report from the Lead Bank Manager regarding the reason for denial of loan.

According to lead bank manager K. Jayashanker, the HDFC Bank had informed that the loan was already passed on April 18.

According to him, they had already received a complaint regarding the denial and had asked the Bank to reconsider their earlier decision.

The Kottayam (West) police have, meanwhile, charged a case against the HDFC Pulinchuvadu branch manager on the charge of abetting suicide.

Minister's assurance

Talking to mediapersons who met him, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the government would conduct an investigation into the matter.

According to him, there had been widespread allegations regarding the functioning of new generation banks. Concerns have also been raised about their style of functioning, which was not as transparent as that of public sector banks, he said and added that since the bank concerned was a scheduled bank, the government would study what course of action to be pursued.

In a statement, the HDFC spokesperson said loan applications necessarily have to undergo a due-diligence and verification exercise as guided by the regulatory processes. Hence there is a time lag between submission of the application and approval; and the same varies on a case-to-case basis, the statement said. He expressed grief over the demise of Shruti Srikanth.

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