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NIT Srinagar scholars protest demanding release of stipend

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‘Over 500 research scholars await stipend for over four months’

Srinagar: Research scholars at National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, Tuesday held a peaceful protest outside the campus at Hazratbal here demanding the release of their fellowship (stipend).

“It has been more than four months now that our fellowship amount has not been released. We raised the issue with the Director, NIT, Srinagar, and have also written to the ministry concerned but there has been no response so far,” a research scholar was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said some of the scholars stay in rented accommodation outside the campus and were facing the possibility of eviction as they have not been able to pay the rent.

“We appeal to the authorities to disburse the pending fellowship at the earliest while devising a framework to release it on time. This will allow scholars to focus on their primary task of research,” another scholar said.

“We have not got fellowship grant for the last four months. We have been protesting, and demanding disbursal of grants to us for the last 10 days but there is no help. Non-grant of fellowship is creating a lot of problems for students who are mainly outsiders and stay in rented accommodations. Students are unable to pay their rent,” said Tarun Jandyal, a Ph.D scholar.

He said landlords have been demanding rent. If students do not pay, they will be forced to leave their rented accommodations, Jandyal said.

“Non-disbursal of fellowship grants is causing a lot of problems to students from economically-weak backgrounds, especially as they are facing difficulty in fulfilling their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter,” he said.

Jandyal said a group of students on Tuesday protested at the institute’s main gate demanding early release of grants to them.

Over 500 research scholars at the NIT here have been awaiting their stipend for over four months as the Ministry of Education is yet to release funds, officials said.

They said the NIT’s management has sent letters to the ministry, informing it about the non-payment of due stipend to students pursuing Ph.D and Master of Technology (M.Tech), but has not got any “positive response” so far.

The officials said there are 350 Ph.D scholars and 180 others pursuing M.Tech at the institution.

“Ph.D scholars have not got fellowship/stipend for over four months. We solely depend on it for our financial needs. It is creating a lot of problems for us. We have already approached the NIT management but they say they cannot do anything for it as the grant is released by the Ministry of Education,” another scholar said, requesting anonymity.

He said senior officials at the institute say that the grant will only be released once it is sent to them by the Ministry of Education.

When contacted, NIT Director Rakesh Sehgal said, “We have informed the Ministry of Education about it. We have been writing letters to them seeking the grant.”

He confirmed that students have not got their stipend or fellowship for the past four months.

“It has happened for the first time that students have not got the grant for over four months. The Ministry of Education has been informed about it. Even today, I am going to write a letter to the ministry on it,” Sehgal said. (With PTI inputs)

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