Conservancy workers claimed that lack of awareness on scholarships and other financial assistance that their school-going children are entitled to was the main reason for the scholarship scam that recently came to light in Namakkal district. A sum of Rs. 81 lakh was sanctioned for distribution to 2,784 children of conservancy workers for the years 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The scam came to light when the Education Department conducted an inquiry into the incident and revealed that only 1,016 applications were genuine.
It also revealed that the entire scholarship did not reach the beneficiaries as a part of the amount was swindled by the headmasters of the schools, officials in the Adi Dravida Welfare Department and touts involved in the scam.
“On the other hand, many deserving children did not apply for it as they were not aware of the scholarship,” District Organiser of the Samakalvi Iyakkam A. Ambrose said.
A. Radhamani (37), a conservancy worker, said that she has three girls who are in classes 6 to 11 but so far they have not obtained the scholarship for children of conservancy workers.
“I don’t know to read or write and was not able to read and understand the scholarship announcement. Education department officials should read out such announcements to us so that we can understand them,” she suggested.
Another conservancy worker and mother of three Sakthi (30) said that only one of her children got the scholarship of Rs. 1,000 while her two other children have not got it so far.
She said that Rs. 1,000 was big money for a conservancy worker like her and that she did not know that her son should have got Rs. 850 more while her two other children could also have obtained the scholarship.
They were among the many conservancy workers who shared similar incidents with newsmen here on Friday.
The Samakalvi Iyakkam has urged the government to popularise scholarships for persons from downtrodden communities and to conduct a similar probe into the scholarship scam for children of conservancy workers in all the districts across the State.
They also asked the State Government, district administration and the Adi Dravida Welfare Department to take necessary steps to distribute scholarships that is yet to reach the beneficiaries.
The district administration should initiate criminal action against the suspended headmasters and to arrest the touts involved in the scam without delay, the nenbers added.