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No scholarship to J & k students

Kashmiri students studying in their third academic year at various colleges outside the state have been left in a lurch after All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has reportedly informed them of their disqualification from Prime Ministers Special Scheme (PMSSS).

A group of students who had been camping at New Delhi to get their scholarship released has been asked to either arrange money from their own resources or head back home. “We were told by the director AICTE that no scholarship would be released for the batch of 2012-13 and it has left our lives shattered. Other officials were even blunt asking us to head back home and don't hope for anything here,” said a BBA student of Shekhawati College of Pharmacy.

Earlier the AICTE had shortlisted 227 students from 2012-13 batch for the release of scholarship amount. They were asked to furnish various details so that their scholarship amount would be released. “We went through multiple rounds of verification. All of our documents were checked and we had to undergo physical verification,” said Irfan, a third year student of B.Pharmacy. “We met all the criteria and after two years they are telling us that no money would be released in our favour.”

The students complained of rude behavior from the officials and blamed both centre and state government of being indifferent to their woes. “The AICTE director told us in blunt words that they have no money for us. When we asked them, what was the need of all those verifications, he said that it was a formality and go wherever you can,” said Shafat Ahmad, another student from the same college. 

Meanwhile the college authorities have asked the students to leave the college premises and vacate the hostel by December 20, 2014 or “get ready for forcible eviction.” “Our college has given us ultimatum. They said enough is enough, either pay or leave,” said Irfan “We have been reduced to beggars here. We pooled 1500 each and sent a team of students to New Delhi and what we got in turn is this devastating news.”

The students said that despite the change of Prime Minister there has been no change of attitude towards the Kashmiri students with regards to this scheme. “We met all ministers from state as well as centre, but they simply don’t care,” said Ishfaq Ahmad, a student of Physiotherapy at Deshmesh College of Physiotherapy, who too has been denied the scholarship.

Most of the students belong to poor families and some have even sold their ancestral property to pay their dues at the college. “For the fee of first and second year, my father sold his land. We were promised that AICTE will release our scholarship," said a student wishing not to be named. "Now i am in lurch. I have lost money, three years of career and i have gained nothing. For third year fee we have nothing else to sell."

When asked a MHRD official denied that that AICTE has quashed the list of 227 candidates for scholarship. "No there has been no such order," said an official. "Regarding their case we have not taken any decision yet."

Many students have left the courses midway. Out of 23 students at Shekhawati college, 10 have already left after burning their fingers in PMSSS fire.

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