They have not rejected it; they have simply kept Ratul Khan’s application pending: Education Minister

Ratul Khan is among seven top-performing high-school students to win an Assam government-sponsored scholarship to visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters in the United States, but he has been denied a visa.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday handed over tickets to the six others who won the first three ranks in the high-school examinations this year for their 14-day trip but Khan has to stay put at his home at Alikha in Kamrup district.

Son of motor mechanic

Khan, son of a motor mechanic, is the poorest of the awardees. He topped the Assam High Madrasa (AHM) Examination in 2012, thus winning the NASA opportunity with the State government-sponsored Deba Kumar Bora Memorial exposure trip.

Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists that Khan’s visa application had not been rejected but kept pending by the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata.

“They have not rejected it. They have simply kept his application pending. The U.S. Embassy has not assigned any reason. I have written personally to the U.S. Ambassador, Consul General and the Ministry of External Affairs in a bid to get Ratul’s visa application cleared. The passport is still with them and, therefore, we are hopeful that his visa application will eventually be cleared. As and when his visa is cleared, we will make arrangement to take him on the second trip,” the Minister said.

The government had “already delayed the trip by nearly a month’s time hoping that Ratul’s visa application will be cleared, too. We decided that because of this technical problem we should not make the other six students wait further for their dream trip,” Mr. Sarma said.

Khan, who dreams of becoming an engineer, told The Hindu that he failed to understand why he had not been granted a visa, while other rank-holders had got one.

“I visited the U.S. Consulate on October 9 along with other six rank holders to seek a visa for our trip to NASA. On November 17, I received a call from an official of our Education Department saying that I will not be able to make the trip to NASA as my visa application has not been cleared,” he said.

Assam’s Board of Secondary Education conducts both the madrasa and school board exams. The government announced that first three rank holders of High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination and the first rank holder of AHM would be taken to the NASA on exposure trip.

The six who left for the trip are: Gyandeep Sarmah, Bhaswati Deka, Stuty Khound, Shahinoor Rahman, Parijat Priyadarshini and Priyanka Bezbaruah.

RELATED NEWS

Khan finally gets visa for NASA tripNovember 22, 2012