[ Nellie Manpoong ]
NAHARLAGUN, Jul 14: Hundreds of students lodged a complaint at the police station here against M/s Yarkum Enterprises and its proprietors Hillang Nima and Choki Raja on Saturday for allegedly acquiring fee of Rs 500 from each of the students for submitting forms under the umbrella scheme of pre- and post-matric scholarships.
Reportedly, nearly 3000 forms have been rejected because they were submitted after the last date of submission. However, it is yet to be ascertained whether all these were done under M/s Yarkum Enterprise.
Giving details on the alleged scam, a student of Polo Colony higher secondary school informed this daily that hundreds of students from several government schools in the capital complex were approached by Nima and Raja in their respective schools. Consultation meets were held in the schools themselves, where students were explained the benefits of getting their forms submitted through the agency.
Reportedly, Nima and Raja also guaranteed that the students would receive their scholarships if the form submission was done through their agency.
The student informed that the form submission process was done from 21 August to 15 September in various government schools of the capital complex. However, following the end of the submission process, Nima, who had given two helpline numbers, stopped receiving calls of several of these students.
Soon after, the first list came out in the office of the social justice, empowerment and tribal affairs (SJETA), which is the department concerned, and the students found that their names were not on the list.
“When the first ‘rejected’ list came out, none of our names was found. Assuming that we were all selected, we waited for the ‘selected’ list to come out, and found our names missing from that list as well, which showed that our forms were never submitted,” the student said.
The students quickly began coming together, and visited the SJETA office here, and called on Nima to appear before the director’s office for an explanation on Friday morning.
However, he did not come on the day, and instead posted on his Facebook page, claiming that there had been a “misunderstanding,” and sought a month’s time.
When contacted, SJETA Director Yumlam Kaha said the department has not entrusted any such agency to collect scholarship forms on its behalf.
He also informed that the scholarship forms, which can currently be filled and submitted both offline and in person, are offered at a minimal charge of Rs 20 (which is written on the form), and come without any administrative charges.
“The students came to us on Friday and we explained that we have no reason to refuse any student, except when it is submitted after the last submission date. The drop-box in the department office also has the last date of submission written on it, and we even gave it in the local dailies for wide circulation.
We did not accept anybody’s submission after the final submission date,” he said.
The students said Nima likely submitted the scholarship forms after the expiry of the submission date. They also said they were aware that the scholarship forms were available for Rs 20 each but had applied in hopes that the process would be handled entirely by the agency.
However, another student who managed to make contact with Nima passed on a message that he (Nima) would sort out the problem and pay back the students according to his capacity.
“All of us want an explanation from both Nima and Choki as to why our forms were not submitted. As students, we feel cheated, especially when he is evading our calls and notices to appear before the department to explain the situation. How much will he truly be able to pay back to each of us?” the student said.
Naharlagun PS OC N Riba informed that, after receiving the complaint, a police team visited Yarkum Enterprise, located near Lagun Bridge, on Saturday, but found it closed.
He said that, if during investigation it is found that there had indeed been injustice done to the students, the police would appeal to the department to consider their case and accept their forms.
“We will place a request to the department after investigation, but it is entirely upon the government to accept the request,” he said.
Capital SP M Harshvardhan informed that they would first ascertain whether the department authorized anyone to fill up and submit forms for pre- and post-matric scholarships, and move on ahead from there.
“We have started an inquiry, and have called Nima and Raja for questioning as of now,” he said.
This daily made several attempts but could not contact the accused for a statement.
[ Nellie Manpoong ]