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Dalit girl student works as NREGS worker to pay for engineering college dues

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 25, 2021-
A Dalit girl in Odisha has been working as a labourer under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to pay for her pending dues in a private engineering college to get her diploma certificate.

Loji Behera of Goradapidha village under Pipili block in Puri district is working as an MGNREGA labourer to earn money so that she can pay her college dues of Rs 25,000 to obtain the certificate.

The college authorities have withheld her certificate as she could not clear her dues.

Loji has five sisters. Two of them are helping her in in the work to clear her dues. While one is pursuing B-Tech degree and the other is a Class 12 student. The sisters are engaged in soil lifting work at a daily wage of Rs 207.

“I have completed my diploma degree in civil engineering during the session 2016-19. Though the course fee was paid by the government, my parents could not pay hostel fee. Of total due amount of Rs 44,000, my parents paid Rs 20,000 and but I could not manage the rest,” said Behera.

She said that the college chairman refused to release her certificate despite repeated requests.

Loji rued that she could not take admission in B.Tech course as the certificate was not released by the college authorities.

“We are five siblings and all are studying. It is very difficult for my father to bear expenses towards studies of five daughters. Therefore, I preferred to work as a daily wager under MGNREGA,” said Loji.

Meanwhile, popular ‘Jatra’ artiste Rani Panda has extended her helping hand to the poor girl and deposited Rs 25,000 in her account.

“I felt very bad to hear that the girl is working as a labourer to get her certificate for higher studies. I will help her to continue her education,” said Panda. (Agency)

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