A state that boasts of an annual budget of Rs 1.28 lakh crore for 2011-12 (Rs 1.45 lakh crore for 2012-13), is quite inexplicably unable to release Rs 2,000 crore towards the post-matric scholarships for intermediate, degree and post-graduate students living in student-managed hostels under the Social Welfare Department.
On an average there are four Department Hostels in each of the 23 districts in the state with student ranging from 70-100 in each hostel. Thanks to the government apathy, besides incurring expenses on their food bill, the students are also required to cough money from their scholarship for paying salaries to cooks, watchmen and other staff of the hostels as the government pays only the building rent.
Though the government released about 1800 crore in the third quarter of this financial year it was sufficient only to clear dues pertaining to the previous financial year, highly-placed government, said the sources. With the current financial year coming to close after a month and eight months have already been passed in the ongoing academic year, the government is yet to release the scholarships.
Along with 70 of her fellow students in the hostel, a second year degree student staying in a student-managed departmenthostel at Sangareddy, about 60 kms from Hyderabad, is making do with a single meal a day for the last couple of months.
Also the Collector S.A.M Rizvi had also arranged for supply of provisions and other essentials on credit from the Vijayakrishna Super Bazzar which is run by the Co-operative Department. As and when the State Government releases Rs 8 Lakh from the District Rural Development Agency's interest amount and distributed it to students (as loans) so that they could at least manage things for a few days.
After conducting a surprise inspections at the hostels he encountered that “It was so pathetic to see teenage students in a mal-nourished condition. Some of them looked mentally disturbed. Meanwhile, officials in the Social Welfare department here admitted that there has been a “problem” in releasing the scholarship amount.
An officer of a top social welfare department official said, “We have made all transactions online this year to ensure transparency. Online applications were received till December while the 'verification' process was completed only at the end of January. Hence the delay in payment”, adding the funds might be released in the next few days to clear all the dues.