In a press release by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), it has demanded that the scholarships given to students from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories should be provided instantly, and the Himachal Pradesh government should take immediate action against those who have been responsible for the scholarship scam.
On behalf of the state government, SC and ST students, whose family income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh per year, annual scholarship is given. The amount of their fees is returned through this scholarship. But, the students have not received their scholarship from 2016 to 2018.
Sanjay Chauhan, member of the state secretariat of CPI(M), and former mayor of Shimla, told Newsclick, “The present BJP government had assured a CBI probe into the SC and ST scholarship scam, but it seems like the motive of the government is to suppress the entire matter, rather than highlight it. The Education Department of Himachal Pradesh had started the exercise of handing the investigation over to the CBI through the Home Ministry, but the CM is still completely silent on this subject. The Shimla Police, who is investigating the case, is not working on this matter sincerely.”
He further told Newsclick that the students have conveyed their request for a CBI probe in the matter to the state government as well as the Education Department, but both of them have remained silent till now. On the other hand, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had also declared a CBI inquiry into the matter, but now, he is also silent on the matter. “In the matter of scholarships to the students of SC and ST category, complacent attitude of the state government shows that the state government is trying to save the people involved in this corruption.”
At the same time, with the state government, the Centre has also not provided scholarships to the SC and ST students for the last three years. At the national level, the scholarship for SC and ST students of about 11,156 crore has been pending for the last three years. Out of 11,156 crore, 8,000 crore are pending for the SC students, and 3,156 crore for the ST students. “Due to this, 71,36,934 students have not got any scholarship, and out of this, 51,03,193 are SC students and 20,33,741 are ST students,” said Chauhan.
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“The state is definitely trying to protect the people involved in this scam; otherwise, there is no reason for not handing the case to the CBI. The BJP and Mr. Thakur, our CM, had assured that there would be a CBI enquiry in this case at the time of elections. In fact, the BJP, in its election manifesto, had raised this issue, and now that the BJP is in power, they are suddenly silent. Nobody is saying anything on this matter now. The question is, where did this money go? This is the public’s money. Who is accountable for this?” questioned Chauhan.
Given the gravity of the matter, CPI(M) has urged the state government to direct a CBI inquiry in this scholarship scam, and take prompt action against the culprits as well as has demanded that the outstanding scholarship dues should be provided to the beneficiaries immediately.
It has further stated that if the government does not take action immediately, then the CPI(M) will mobilise massive movements against this. “If they do hand the case to CBI, and the dues are not cleared, we will definitely mobilise masses, and take the agitation to the streets. We are not going to sit silently when so many students are suffering, and the culprits are roaming scot free,” said Chauhan.
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