Scholarship Scheme

Erring colleges to face music

They can’t hold degrees of beneficiary students failing to pay fee: Official

Erring colleges to face music

Students and heads of educational institutes take part in a meeting that was held with Principal Secretary, Social Justice Department, Kripa Shankar Saroj in Jalandhar on Monday. Sarabjit Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 24

Principal Secretary Social Justice Department Kripa Shankar Saroj said today that the state government would initiate action against erring institutes which have failed to implement the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme and those holding degrees of beneficiary students failing to pay fee.

Meanwhile, students have threatened to hold a dharna on Tuesday on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway if their demands were not met.

The Principal Secretary said the portal for registration under the scheme for students would be specially opened from February 26 to 28 to provide a relief to the students. The declarations were made by the Principal Secretary during a meeting with students and the college authorities here to assess difficulties being faced by students of the SC community for getting benefits under the scheme.

Chairing the meeting in the presence of DC Varinder Kumar Sharma and Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, he addressed questions from about 150 heads of educational institutions and nearly 200 students who attended the meeting.

Students and institute heads raised their queries with the Principal Secretary. Hundreds of students have been protesting in the city against denial of admissions and registrations and other benefits and holding of certificates under the scheme.

Speaking on the occasion, Kripa Shankar said: “Students have brought to my notice some violations being done by educational institutions in the implementation of the scheme.

He said the students also said their degrees were being withheld by colleges for non-payment of fee. It was a criminal offence. A minute inquiry would be undertaken by the department to look into these. “We will try to find out colleges defaulting in the scheme implementation and they would be acted against,” he said.

He said: “The Centre has not released funds for scholarship for 2017-18 and 2018-19 but Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is constantly taking up the issue with the Union Government. The CM has even said a letter should be released to seek time with the PM over the issue. The state government has already released the pending amount under the OBC and minority scholarship scheme.”

Saroj added that the issue of rescheduling the opening and closing of the scheme would also be explored and possibility of issuing degrees to students directly would also be examined.

The flip side

The Principal Secretary said today that the audit in the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme was complete, however, he will ‘find out’ the erring colleges as there is no list of defaulters.

Dr Gurinder Singh Samra, Principal, Lyallpur Khalsa College, and President, College Principals’ Association, said: “Colleges are seeking unreleased grants under the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme. The government is yet to pay Rs 13 crore to our college and about Rs 75 crore is pending towards all Jalandhar colleges. The last audit was done in 2016-17 by the government. While the portal will be opened for students, we don’t know when our money will arrive. Many colleges have been driven to financial crisis and some have been defaulting. The Issue will be resolved when the grants would be released.”

Notably, while the government had also cited the conduct of audits before, list of colleges defaulting in the scheme was never released. The Principal Secretary also denied knowledge of the fact that many Doaba colleges had been driven to a financial crisis in recent years.

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