The State Government has decided to construct 55 new 100-seated hostels in 10 coastal districts and Sonepur from its Plan fund. Making this announcement at the Scheduled Castes Welfare Advisory Board meeting here on Friday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Government has also decided to enhance the post-matric scholarship (maintenance allowance) to Rs 1,000 per month for SC-ST boarders of Group 2, 3 and 4 categories.
The Chief Minister said constructions of 135 out of 155 new girls hostels for Scheduled Castes students have been completed under Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana and the remaining 19 hostels will be completed within two months.
Presently, students pursuing Masters degree, Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor in Computer Application (BCA) and Hotel Management are getting Rs 820 per month while students in Group-3 category (degree courses) are given Rs 570 per month as scholarship. Plus-two, ITI and polytechnic students are getting a monthly scholarship of Rs 380.
The State Government will bear the differential cost, official sources said, adding that the scholarship amount (Rs 1,200 per month) of the SC and ST students studying medical and engineering has remained the same.
The State Government is bearing the entire admission expenses of these students.
The Chief Minister said uniforms will be provided to all students of Class XI and XII studying in ST & SC Development Department schools.
Reviewing legal assistance to the SC and ST communities, Naveen said the State Government has opened 390 Legal Aid Cells in the State for providing free legal services to Scheduled category people. As many as 593 legal retainers have been appointed in 298 Legal Aid Cells in the State.
Besides, steps have been taken to establish three special courts at Cuttack, Balasore and Balangir for speedy trial of pending atrocity cases, he said.
While monetary relief to the tune of Rs 165.26 lakh has been released for payment to 572 SC atrocity victims, Rs 207.81 lakh has been released for payment of cash incentive to 421 inter-caste married couples during the current year, he told the meeting.
Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development Minister Lal Behari Himirika, MPs and MLAs, Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner, Director-General of Police and other senior officials attended the meeting.