IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

Govt boon for underprivileged IIT-ian

Posted on: December 24, 2010

By Times of India

KOLKATA: Ganga Haldar is no ordinary youngster. The 21-year-old daughter of a van rickshaw puller from Burdwan’s Narayanpur village has struggled against many odds to fulfil her dreams.

It was her sheer grit and resolve that has made her a winner today. She qualified for IIT-Mumbai for an MSc in chemistry earlier this year and cleared her first semester. But now, her father Sahadeb is finding it difficult to continue paying for her education.

On Thursday, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee handed over a cheque of Rs 20,000 for her second semester and promised that the government will henceforth take care of her higher education. Her brother, Arjun, was given a cheque of Rs 10,000 for his studies at Vishwa-Bharati University, where he is pursuing chemistry honours.

Sahadeb himself studied till Class VI, and had to start working to earn a livelihood. In the remote Narayanpur village of Burdwan, all his hard work brings him barely Rs 2,500 a month.

“I thanked him (Sahadeb) for doing so much for the children despite such difficulty. But now, no more pressure on your Baba; your education is now the government’s responsibility,” Bhattacharjee lovingly told Ganga and Arjun at Writers’ Buildings on Friday. Brother and sister touched his feet and shyly posed for the camera.

“I learnt about Ganga from a newspaper report. We are forever on the lookout for such bright youngsters who need money to pursue their dreams,” said Bhattacharjee. This year, the chief minister’s office is funding 2,500 young people who are studying higher secondary to university level. Bhattacharjee said that some corporate houses are also helping people in need, “and the more people who come forward the better”. “I have also directed the district administrations to report to us whenever they come in contact with young aspirants who are in need for their education to be funded,” the CM said.

Ganga and Arjun’s cousin Surajit is doing his MSc at Vishwa-Bharati and also needs money to continue his studies. On Friday, as he was sitting at Writers’, the CM said: “This boy is tongue-tied. I am now learning that he too needs money. I have asked him to apply to the government, so that we may do something for him.”

Ganga was very excited to meet the CM. “It seems like a dream to me. We have all struggled very hard. After the first semester, I was facing a real problem because continuing to study means a lot of money,” she said. “My father works very hard to run the family. Our mother only knows how to sign her name; she has had no formal education. My brother and I taught her to sign her name,” Ganga said. “But now, I am glad that things will change for the better,” she smiled, her eyes twinkling with happiness.

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