Ambedkar students’ association enters eighth day of protest against inadequate facilities and fund mismanagement | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Ambedkar students’ association enters eighth day of protest against inadequate facilities and fund mismanagement

Feb 22, 2024 07:22 AM IST

The Ambedkar Students’ Association entered is in its eighth day of protest at the Sant Eknath Government Boys’ Hostel, Chembur. Students highlight grievances over what they perceive as inadequate stipends and facilities for marginalised students in Maharashtra

MUMBAI: The Ambedkar Students’ Association entered is in its eighth day of protest at the Sant Eknath Government Boys’ Hostel, Chembur. Students highlight grievances over what they perceive as inadequate stipends and facilities for marginalised students in Maharashtra. The protest, which commenced on February 12, has evolved into an indefinite strike, with students alleging a scandal involving funds designated for Scheduled Castes (SC).

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The epicenter of the agitation is the Sant Eknath Government Boys’ Hostel, managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Justice, serving meritorious students from marginalised castes. Students have united in their demand for justice, accusing officials of financial misappropriation and corruption pertaining to SC scholarship funds.

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Students’ grievances include delayed scholarship disbursements, with some recipients experiencing a year-long lapse in stipend payments. The monthly stipend of 800, last revised in 2011, is deemed insufficient for Mumbai’s high cost of living, affecting economically disadvantaged students.

Sandeep Kamble, a protesting student said, “We have not received our stipend for a year, neither are we provided with stationery. There are economically disadvantaged marginalised students who were not awarded scholarships, leading to the unfortunate consequence of their admission being dropped due to their inability to pay on time.” He also added that there is a need to increase the stipend amount, last revised in 2011, to reflect the current economic landscape.

Accusations of an ‘SC fund scam’ have surfaced, with allegations of misappropriation and favouritism in awarding contracts. The association has presented a list of 16 demands, including an inquiry into alleged mismanagement, legal action against implicated entities, cancellation of centralised food contracts, and the establishment of new hostels to accommodate the burgeoning student population.

Meanwhile, a social welfare department officer said discussions with the protesting students are on. “We will solve this issue very soon,” he said.

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