Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Chhatrapur, July 1:
Much as the administration of Ganjam district in Odisha would like to disown culpability for the shocking suicide of a 12-year old for nothing more than important than the lack of study related stationery, new revelations prove it was official apathy more than anything else that killed Jayanti Nayak.
It now emerges that Jayanti, like fellow students of the Aska Girls’ high school belonging to the SC/ST category, had not received the monthly stipend of Rs 200 for the last two years. Had she received what is due to her as a matter of right, she would have had no reason to commit suicide just because her parents could not buy her note books and pencils.
A few days after her tragic death, Ganjam collector Prem Chandra Choudhury had said that the parents of Jayanti were poor. Though they did not have a BPL card, they received all other facilities they were entitled to, the collector said.
But as has now been revealed, the claim was not quite true.
According to government provisions, a stipend of Rs 200 and Rs 150 a month is paid to girl and boy students of SC/ST category. But SC/St students of the school have not received their stipends for the last two years.
After the fresh revelation, Choudhury has now ordered an inquiry into this serious lapse. He has asked the District Education Officer (DEO) and Block Education Officer (BEO) to submit their inquiry reports in the matter.
Sources said even as the investigation is underway, the incumbent headmaster is trying to shift the blame on his predecessor. With the collector warning of stringent action against those found guilty, officials have resorted to the familiar game of blame shifting, the sources add.
While the reason behind non-payment of stipend will be revealed only after the investigation is over, the collector said the administration would take up the responsibility of admitting Jayanti’ sister and brother to a residential school.
That, however, would be small consolation for the family, which lost a precious life that was about to blossom.