Pune: Tired of irregular payments by the State government, a tribal students’ organisation has demanded that the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme be withdrawn. The organisation has warned of a long march from July 13 to 18 from Pune to Nashik, condemning the government order to deposit Rs 3,000 in students’ accounts to cover their monthly food expenses.
Members of this association held a press conference on Monday to highlight their issues. Madan Pathve, Bharat Talpade, Babalu Gaikwad and Shyamal Gaware demanded that the DBT scheme be stopped.
Pathve said, “The government has taken the decision to deposit money for scholarships, student meals, education items and monthly stipend through DBT. The decision is a good one, but it is adversely affecting tribal students. Right now, we don’t get monthly stipends in time.”
Bharat Talpade, a former student, said, “When we raised our voice against the poor quality of food in the mess, the government gave us an assurance to fulfill our demand. Out of 22 demands, so far they are able to fulfill only two demands of students. The government has blamed us as we defamed the government by conducting a protest against them.”
Shyamal Gaware, a student, said, “If the government gives us money to cover our food expenses, how are girl students supposed to go out after 7.30 pm to have their food, when security is a major concern. DBT has also raised security problems of girl students. So, we demand that the government run messes in hostels and provide quality food.”
More than 8,000 students study in 495 hostels across the State. The government gives Rs 800 stipend for boys and Rs 900 to girl students every month. For mess, the government has decided to give Rs 3,000 per month. Besides this, the government gives a minimum Rs 3,500 to a maximum of Rs 6,000 to purchase stationery items in a year.