Over the issue of the lathicharge on Scheduled Caste (SC) students who were demanding their scholarship money here last week, more than 20 Congress legislators led by state leader of opposition Jakhar on Tuesday cornered the state government.
They said the government’s lie on the disbursing of post-matric scholarships had been nailed. “The feudal mindset of the Akali-BJP government is behind the non-disbursal,” said. Jakhar. Replying to his question on March 25, SC welfare minister Gulzar Singh Ranike had claimed in the assembly that `376 crore had been released for the scholarship payment, while in governor’s address in the Vidhan Sabha on March 12, the government had claimed that only `53.45 crore had been released.
“Which is false? The minister’s reply or the governor’s address?” said Jakhar, flashing the two documents. Quoting point 105 in the governor’s address, Jakhar said that in the header, the government had claimed that it had more than 3 lakh online applications for different scholarships and the money was being transferred to the students’ accounts through direct beneficial transfer (DBT) scheme.
“If the government has money, as deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal claims, and the students are registered under the DBT, what stops the administration from transferring the amount? They cannot, since they have diverted this money to buying helicopters,” said the state leader of the opposition.
Countering the government’s claims that private colleges were not releasing the scholarship money, Jakhar said his personal enquires at these colleges suggested that the institutes had never got the money. “The state government has not paid `2 crore to DAV College, Jalandhar; more than `60 lakh to DAV College, Abohar; and a huge amount to other institutes. Only Lovely Professional University has got money under this head,” said the Congress leader.
“Democracy has not flourished in Pakistan because the feudal lords don’t allow schools to be opened in villages. The SAD has the same feudal attitude in denying the lower class the opportunity to get education,” said Jakhar.
Former Union minister and Patiala legislator Preneet Kaur said that she could feel the pain of the poor parents whose children had been beaten up, and worse was hat that the policemen responsible for this lathicharge had not been punished.