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Want grants? Open bank accounts first

Welfare Dept asks private unaided schools to open accounts for all backward caste students so that funds to reimburse their fees can be deposited

The state's Social Welfare and Justice Department (SWJD), which has not reimbursed the fees of socially backward students for the last four years, has issued a letter to all private unaided educational institutions in every district of the state asking them to open a bank account for all such students in which all their endowment will be credited.

This move comes after complaints and protests carried out by the Bhartiya Republican Party Bahujan Mahasangh and the parents of backward caste students against the department for not releasing grants for students for the last four years.

Several private unaided schools in the state, which offer the backward classes free scholarship scheme, incurred losses as the SWJD had not released their grants worth lakhs of rupees since April 2007. The schools were either forced to collect fees from the students or shut down.

Though the department had been reimbursing the fees every year until April 2007, it started delaying the payment of the grant after the Supreme Court ruling in 2003 allowing schools to hike fees.The grants were stopped after 2007. As per the recommendations submitted by a committee, the state had to make reimbursements at the rate of Rs 100 per month for students in primary section, Rs 150 for students studying in standards V to VII and Rs 200 for students studying in Std VIII to X.

Advocate Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar and president of the Bharatiya Republican Bahujan Mahasangh, said: "The SWJD has issued a letter to all private institutions to open a bank account for all those who apply for OBC, ST and SC scholarships. The fees will be reimbursed in parts. We'll see which institution is not following it up and take action against it. We are also getting the state education department involved in this."

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