Protest against non-payment of scholarships to their kids
Pune: The Kagad, Kach, Patra, Kashtakari Panchayat, a body representing waste pickers that collect paper, glass, tin, etc, has called for an indefinite hunger strike to demand the payment of the ‘Unclean Occupations Scholarship’ to the children of waste pickers. They have been complaining that their children have not been receiving these scholarships for the last 3 years, ever since they were moved to Direct Benefit Transfer system.
Vishnu Shrimangale, the Education Coordinator at the Panchayat, said, “Every student eligible for this scholarship receives Rs 1,850 per year from Standard I to Standard X.”
”From the last three years, almost none of the students have received their scholarships. The Pune and PCMC areas have more than 2,000 such students. Out of this, hardly 350 students were registered by schools,” he added.
Vijaya Chavan, a waste picker by profession, lives in Pimpri and works around Sangvi. She said that even after repeated attempts, their children haven’t been registered. “From the last three years, we are going to the schools to get our children registered for the scholarships, but we are told by them to fill up the form via the Panchayat. The Panchayat tells us that schools are supposed to fill those forms. In between all this, our children haven’t received a single rupee yet.”
Priti Laxman Jakate, a student of Standard IX, said that she has been filling up the form for the last 3 years but she hasn’t received any scholarship even after submitting the form to her school. Suman More, another parent, said that schools also deny giving their seals and signatures on the forms. “Even if we decide to submit the form through our panchayat, the forms need the signature and seal of the school. The schools shirk of their responsibility.”
Surekha Dolas, who has two kids, one in Standard I and one in Standard III, said, “When we went to the school, the school said that they have not been notified about any such scheme and hence they’re unable to submit our forms.”
Shrimangale said, “We have a simple demand. We have given a list of 1,279 students to the authorities, they should be given their due scholarships for the last 3 years and their forms must be accepted.”