Dalit Engineering student in Odisha works as MGNREGA worker to fund her pending college dues
Twenty-year-old Rojy Behera, a resident of Pipli block in Puri district of Odisha, is working as MGNREGA worker for the past 20 days. Working at a wage of Rs 207 , she hopes to clear dues of her college and receive certificate.
Mohammad Suffian, Bhubaneswar
Caught between poverty and misery, a 20-year-old poverty-ridden Dalit girl worked as a labourer under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA) to pay for the pending dues in private engineering college and help her aged father in managing the household.
Rojy Behera is a resident of Pipli block in Puri district of Odisha.
For 20 days, Rojy Behera has been working as MGNREGA worker– digging fields, collecting and carrying mounds of soil on her head for making a road in her village — to earn Rs 207 per day.
Rojy has five sisters. Two of them are helping her in arranging funds to clear her dues of her Engineering college.
Rojy Behera works as MNREGS worker in Puri district of Odisha. (Image: Mohammad Suffian/India Today)
One of her sisters is pursuing B-Tech degree and the other is a Class 12 student. Her two youngest sisters are in Class 7 and Class 5.
Waking up in the morning and coming to the field with shovel and mortar pan in their hands has become a daily routine for the three sisters.
They are determined to continue as labourers for months, expecting to earn enough money to clear Rojy’s pending dues and get her certificate released from college.
Rojy Behera told India Today TV, “Even Though I have completed my diploma in civil engineering from a private engineering college in 2019, I had pending dues of Rs 44,000. My father could hardly raise around Rs 20,000, but I could not manage the rest. After sitting idle for over a year and a half, I decided to work as a NREGA labourer for at least three months so that I can earn something and clear pending dues of my college and get my certificate.
“We are five siblings and my father is the sole breadwinner in the family, a landless farmer working as a daily wage labourer. It is very tough for him to bear expenses towards studies of five daughters. Therefore, I preferred to work. I have been working as a labourer under MGREGA for past 20 days with a hope that I can get my certificate and will pursue my studies someday,” said Behera.
Despite her repeated approach to college authorities, the chairman and principal of Barunei Institute of Engineering and Technology, turned a deaf ear. The chairman also denied to oblige her without clearing her pending dues.
Puri Collector Samant Verma told India Today TV that the authorities are pursuing her case.
“We are pursuing her case. Our emergency officer has been assigned to contact her and find out the pending dues of her in the private engineering college. All arrangements will also be made for pursuing her future education,” Verma said.
Courtesy : India Today