Pune: Tribal students staying in government hostels protested outside all 29 project offices for tribals in Maharashtra on Monday.
For long, these students have been demanding to resume canteens/mess facility in their hostels, which were shut down early this year following a State Tribal Development Department resolution. The State government has stated that students will get an allowance through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) portal instead, so that they can have their meals at their choice of mess or food service provider.
Students have strongly disapproved of the decision due to irregularities in disbursing funds through DBT. They claimed that because of irregular payments by the government, students have previously faced several inconvenience. There are 490 tribal hostels across the State, out of which 24 are in Pune district and 7-8 in Pune city limits.
“We had gathered at Ghodgaon project office in Junnar. Surprisingly, we found out that the office was shut on a Monday. They had arranged police protection and one of the police officers deployed outside the office informed us that they have imposed section 144 here,” said Bharat Talapade, a student leader.
“However, the protest went well in other places. The authorities of the respective offices told us that they will take up the issue with higher authorities in State government,” added Talapade. The group at Ghodegaon project office burnt the GR as a mark of agitation. The students had also held a long march, which was interrupted by the police earlier. Few students were also detained by police then, said Talapade.
As reported earlier by Sakal Times, tribal students had complained that even before the State government had decided to give allowance for buying educational materials, which was never received on time. According to the GR, Rs 3,500 will be given to the students residing in municipal corporation limits and Rs 3,000 for students in district tribal hostels. The funds will be released in installments of three months and from the time the students entered their hostel. The GR is also applicable to students of Std VIII to X and Std XI to XII.