AP students face hardship over delay in post-matric grants

An inordinate delay on part of the Andhra Pradesh government in releasing scholarships has forced thousands of post-matric students staying at Departmental Hostels to go without two square meals a day.

The state has not released Rs 2,000 crore towards the post-matric scholarships for intermediate, degree and post- graduate students living in student-managed hostels (now re-christened Departmental Hostels) under the social welfare department, sources said.

On an average, there are four Departmental Hostels in each of the 23 districts in the state with student strength ranging from 70-100 in each of them. Besides incurring expenses on their food bill, the students are also required to shell out  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 Rs 1,800 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 sources said. With the current financial year coming to close and eight months already been passed in the ongoing academic year, the government is yet to release the scholarships, they said.

Along with 70-odd students, Pragna (name changed on request) — a second year degree student staying in a Departmental Hostel at Sangareddy, about 60-km from Hyderabad — is doing  with a single meal per day for the last couple of months.

“How can we buy rice, provisions and vegetables without money? We are pooling in what ever little money we are able to get from our parents and ensuring that we have at least one meal a day,” she said, adding that not all students were lucky to draw money from their homes.

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