M A I N   N E W S

Golden hearts to the rescue of the underprivileged
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
This is the story of people with golden hearts which beat for the underprivileged and less fortunate sons of the soil.

The tale begins from the Yadavindra College of Engineering, a brainchild of Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University. Located on the university’s Guru Kashi Campus at Talwandi Sabo( Bathinda), the college has been opened for rural poor but meritorious students, who are not fortunate enough to pay for their studies.

Nothing can be more tragic in one’s life than the misfortune of not continuing studies just because of the inability to pay the fee. For such a disadvantaged lot, Mr Boparai and the faculty of the university have come out with a novel idea, not practiced so far anywhere on such a big scale.

For financing the studies of such students, the university has found volunteer donors, who have the soul to spare a thought for lesser mortals. And believe it that in our society in which the corrupt, thugs and cheats call the shots, there is no dearth of kind and compassionate people, who have the heart to open their pockets to serve a cause.

So far as many as 160 students have been admitted to a Yadavindra College having a total 180 seats for electronics and communication engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer engineering degree courses. Students have been admitted to Plus one class and they would be elevated to engineering courses after passing the plus two examination.

They have been selected on merit. The only condition for them was that they should have studied in a rural school having fee and other charges not more than Rs 500 per annum. On each student, the expenditure for completing the course to the degree level will be Rs 2.04 lakh. The total expenditure on the entire batch for the completion of the course from Plus one to degree level will be in the range of around Rs 4 crore. This entire amount will be paid by donors.

Almost all these 160 students have been adopted by individual and corporate donors. Mr Boparai has made a beginning himself by adopting one student. His wife, Mrs Satwant Kaur Boparai has also adopted one student. Four university faculty members — Dr U.C. Singh, Dr Satnam Singh, Dr Buta Singh Brar and Ms Monica Chawla — have adopted one student each. Mr Rajinder Singh, personal assistant of the Registrar has adopted one student. Adoption is till the completion of the entire course, says Dr Baltej Mann, professor In-charge of the Resource Mobilisation and Advancement Cell of the university.

An interesting feature is that Sant Baba Ajit Singh Hansaliwale has adopted 10 students and he has paid Rs 4.80 lakh as the first installment of the fee. Sant Baba Bhupinder Singh Jaragwale has adopted 5 students. The one, who stands out is Mr Maninder Singh Sethi from New York. He has adopted 10 students for 18 years ( three batches) and committed to pay Rs 60 lakh to the university.

NRIs from Canada, USA and Singapore motivated by Prof Jodh Singh, Prof Rajinder Gill, Prof Jaswinder Singh and Dr Gurnek Singh, have adopted 50 students. Punjab Cooperative Bank has adopted 20 students. The Union Ministry of Social Justice has given the undertaking to adopt 37 Scheduled Caste students. There are 40 per cent girl students in the college and donors are free to pick up student of their choice.

The University has taken the undertaking from students that once they got jobs after passing the degree course, they would donate some part from their salaries to finance the studies of their successors in the college. Some industrial houses based in Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai have also adopted, students besides some public sector and non public sector banks.

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