Srinagar- Over 500 research scholars at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) here have been awaiting their stipend for over four months as the Ministry of Education is yet to release funds, officials said on Tuesday.
The NIT's management has sent letters to the ministry, informing it about the non-payment of due stipend to students pursuing Ph.D and Master of Technology (M.Tech), but has not got any "positive response" so far, they said.
The officials said there are 350 Ph.D scholars and 180 others pursuing M.Tech at the institution.
"We have not got fellowship grant for the last four months. We have been protesting, and demanding disbursal of grants to us for the last 10 days but there is no help. Non-grant of fellowship is creating a lot of problems for students who are mainly outsiders and stay in rented accommodations. Students are unable to pay their rent, said Tarun Jandyal, a Ph.D scholar.
He said landlords have been demanding rent. If students do not pay, they will be forced to leave their rented accommodations, Jandyal said.
"Non-disbursal of fellowship grants is causing a lot of problems to students from economically-weak backgrounds, especially as they are facing difficulty in fulfilling their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter," he said.
Jandyal said a group of students on Tuesday protested at the institute's main gate demanding early release of grants to them.
"Ph.D scholars have not got fellowship/stipend for over four months. We solely depend on it for our financial needs. It is creating a lot of problems for us. We have already approached the NIT management but they say they cannot do anything for it as the grant is released by the Ministry of Education," another scholar said, requesting anonymity.
He said senior officials at the institute say that the grant will only be released once it is sent to them by the Ministry of Education.
When contacted, NIT Director Rakesh Sehgal told PTI, We have informed the Ministry of Education about it. We have been writing letters to them seeking the grant.
He confirmed that students have not got their stipend or fellowship for the past four months.
"It has happened for the first time that students have not got the grant for over four months. The Ministry of Education has been informed about it. Even today, I am going to write a letter to the ministry on it," Sehgal said.
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