Badals, Amarinder responsible for spoiling careers of Dalit students: Bhagwant Mann

Chandigarh, July 10, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab President and Member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann has written to National SC Commission seeking a time-barred probe into the multi-crore scam in the SC Post-Matric Scholarship dues under the watch of High Court or Supreme Court of India. He has also urged the Centre and Punjab Governments to immediately release the outstanding amount worth Rs. 1850 crore pending since 2016-17.

In a statement issued from party headquarters, Bhagwant Mann termed the Akali Dal (Badal), BJP and the Congress as anti-Dalit that had ruined the future of millions of talented and brilliant students belonging to Dalit families in the state. Citing statistics to support his statement, Mann accused the previous Badal and the ruling Captain governments of embezzling billions of rupees of the Dalit students.

In a letter to National SC Commission, the AAP MP pointed out that out of the total amount of Rs 303.92 crore released to the Punjab government by the Central government under the SC Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme in February-March 2019, Rs 248.11 crore had been squandered away under a deep-rooted controversy, seeking a thorough probe into the total funds released and disbursed during the years 2012-13 and 2019-20 under the watch of High Court or Supreme Court of India. This had incurred huge financial loss to a large number of government and private educational institutions, the AAP leader said.

Mann added that during the tenure of Badal Government (2016-17), the scholarship arrears worth thousands of Dalit beneficiaries had been pending till date. Similarly, during the years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 not a single penny had been distributed under this scholarship scheme in Punjab, for which both Central and state governments were equally responsible.

Bhagwant Mann said that it was the outcome of the anti-Dalit approach of the governments that during the year 2016-17 more than 3 lakh Dalit students, who were pursuing higher education at various colleges, technical institutes under the scholarship scheme, had drastically dwindled to less than one and a half lakh per annum, saying that the SAD-BJP and Congress governments had deprived more than 2 lakh Dalit students across the state of the benefit of higher education, every year.

In his letter, Bhagwant Mann said that due to recurring scams in the SC Scholarship Scheme and non-issuance of long-pending scholarship dues to the concerned institutions, more than 65 educational institutions across the state had been shut down and dozens of them were on the verge of closure, which would render thousands of teachers and staff jobless with the Sword of Damocles hanging over thousands others.

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