KERALA

Rajani given all assistance: Minister

KOCHI, JULY 24. The Minister for the Welfare of the Scheduled and Backward Communities, M.A. Kuttappan, today refuted allegations that Rajani S. Anand, an engineering student who had committed suicide, had been denied various educational grants legally due to her from his department.

`No department failure'

At a press conference, the Minister asserted that there had been no failure on the part of the department in providing various educational benefits due to the student. In fact, she had got admission in the payment seats of the self-financing engineering college in Adoor run by the Institute of Human Resources Development (IHRD). He said that the department had given the college a total Rs.59,407 towards the first year fee, stipend, and lump sum. This amount was inclusive of tuition fees (Rs.50,00), special fees and examination fees (Rs.5,060), lump sum and stipend (Rs.3,467). The college had been allotted Rs.55,500 towards the student's second year fees, stipend and lump sum. The Minister said that she was staying in a private hostel, as the IHRD did not have its own hostel in Adoor. In fact, the rules did not allow the department to pay fully the mess charges as the hostel was run by a private institution. However, the monthly stipend of Rs.315 had been paid to her. The allegations that she had not been allowed to study in the college because of her failure to pay tuition fee was not correct, he insisted. He said that though the student had attended classes for a month in the second year, she had not attended classes since August 14, 2003. He also said that she had flunked in nine papers in the first year examinations.

He said that the allegations that the student had been denied a transfer certificate were also baseless. He had got the matter inquired into by the Pathanamthitta district officer under the department and discovered that she had not even applied for the transfer certificate in the prescribed format or otherwise.

`Stir unfortunate'

The Minister said that the Government had decided to give benefits only to those students in the merit quota, from among the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who were studying in self-financing professional colleges from the current academic year. However, those who had been admitted last year in merit and payments seats would continue to get the educational grants as per the law.

He said that the Government could not be blamed for the suicide. It was unfortunate that the students' community had launched an agitation and indulged in violence on this issue. The Government had taken a serious note of the suicide, he added.

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