SRINAGAR: In a surprising development, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Dr MM Pallam Raju Wednesday said that he was not aware of the delay in the release of Rs 1200 crore funds meant for Jammu and Kashmir students studying in various colleges and universities across India under Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS). He, however, was quick to add that he will look into the issue and direct his officials to ensure proper implementation of a scheme so that more and more youth of JK could get benefit of the scheme.Talking to reporters, on the sidelines of a function titled Peace Conference organised by JK Peace Foundation, at SKICC here, Raju said he recently came to know about the delay in disbursement of Rs 1200 crore funds for 5000 students studying in various colleges and universities of India. “We are committed for the successful implementation of the PMSSS. I will look into the issue and direct my officials to sort out the issue so that more youth could benefit from the scheme,” he said.When asked whether there was any role of NGOs in sending boys and girls to outside for studies, the Union Minister said, “He was not sure about the role of NGOs as the students have to deal with him directly.”According to a local news agency KNS, he also said that the government of India have already released Rs 135 crore for 18 districts across the J&K for infrastructure building. “We are committed to ensure capacity building in J&K,” he said.
Earlier, speaking at the conference, Raju said government of India will give special focus to J&K as far as capacity building and skill development courses are concerned. “Kashmir is beautiful place but people of this place need to introspect to shape up better tomorrow,” he said.“Government of India (GOI) is assisting Jammu and Kashmir to upgrade skills and impart technical education to youth to enhance their employability. Apart from the existing colleges in the Valley, GoI is planning to open more Polytechnic colleges. We are shaping the education sector positively and are trying to make course more industry related in order to develop job opportunities for youth,” he said.Addressing the conference, Governor NN Vohra said in the last two decades, education suffered a lot. “We can build buildings and other properties if they get damaged. But we can’t rebuild the career of students who lost their precious years due to strife,” he said.Speaking on the occasion, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saifudin Soz suggested the Union Minister to select 500 colleges in the country where 10 boys and girls could be sent to each college under various programs. “At the same time, there has to be successful implementation of the PMSSS,” he said.He also said, “Many students have cleared their first and second semesters and haven’t received any scholarship so far. Many students have returned back with a deep sense of frustration, he urged the HRD minster to ensure proper implementation of the scheme,” he said.In his speech, Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir said 22 years of perpetual strife has left Kashmir’s education sector tarnished. “But at this stage, rail is back on track and we are heading towards peace and prosperity,” he said.