Waste pickers’ children write to minister to increase amount of scholarship
PUNE At least 1,500 children of waste pickers from Pune have written to Maharashtra’s cabinet minister Dhananjay Munde to increase scholarships amount, as promised to them.
There was no response to HT’s questions from Munde as of March 4.
“All children of waste pickers are eligible under the centrally sponsored pre-matric scholarship for those engaged in an occupation involving cleaning and prone to health hazards. In 2018, the central government announced an increase in the amount from Rs1,850 to 3,000 per year, but the state government has not implemented the change,” said Poornima Chikarmane, from Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, Pune.
These children wrote postcards and held posters with slogans to create awareness about the cleaning occupations scheme on March 1 which is celebrated as the International Waste Pickers’ Day.
The postcard reads “Sir, I am Sachin Kamble from Pune. I study in Class 8 in Babu Jagjivan Ram school. My mother is a waste picker. I receive the scholarship amount of 1,850 per year which is given to children of waste pickers but the central government has changed the amount to 3,000 ₹per year in 2018. The change has not been reflected by the state government and I am deprived of the money which I need to continue my education. Covid has severely affected our studies and we request you to please grant us our rightful amount of scholarship.”
Chikarmane had met minister Mundhe along with the deputy chairperson of the legislative council, Neelam Gorhe just prior to the Covid pandemic in 2020.
Mayur Gaikwad, one of the students of Class 10, said, “I am protesting for our rights, only because we know that if we don’t get the scholarship we will never be able to pursue higher education.
Another student of Class 10 Poonam Shinde, said, “My mother has spent her life collecting waste, it is such an important service. Why does it take so long to recognize our value to the world and give us what is rightfully ours.”
“We hope that our handwritten letters will hasten the process and we get a sum of ₹3,000 as the scholarship starting this year itself”, said Rutuja Mote, a student of Class 8, studying in PMC school, daughter of a waste picker from Yerawada.