Patna: The BJP on Tuesday attacked the Nitish Kumar-led dispensation alleging that it has failed to pay fees and hostel charges, under a government stipend scheme, for over 1,000 Dalit students studying engineering outside Bihar.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that about 60 Dalit students from Bihar were recently sent back from Rajdhani Engineering College Bhubaneswar due to non-payment of fees and hostel charges for the past one-and-half years.
The students — 18 from East Champaran district and 42 from West Champaran — are in second year in the college and face threat of early termination of their studies, he said.
These students have been sent back home by the college's authority pending payment, he added.
Modi said the students met senior officers in the SC & ST Welfare department, but to no avail.
Across the country, over 1000 other SC/ST students are facing similar apathy of the state government, he claimed.
The state government, Sushil Modi said, had promised to pay Rs 7000 annual fee and Rs 10,000 as hostel charges to these students under the Dalit Stipend Scheme had but discontinued it, leaving their future in the lurch.
Sushil Modi, who is Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Legislative Council, also alleged a "big racket" is operating in the SC & ST department.
Officials of the department seek Rs 5 lakh from lesser-known engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states for empanelling them in the list of 58 colleges where Dalit students would be sent from Bihar under the scheme, he alleged.
"Instead of students, the department chooses which Dalit student will go to which engineering college irrespective of marks," he alleged and demanded a high-level inquiry into the "big racket" in the stipend scheme.
The BJP leader also demanded increase in quota for SC and EBC from existing 37 per cent to 50 per cent in the election to panchayat and urban local bodies slated for next month.