For 20-year-old Rosy Behera, education had promised to alleviate the poverty and misery that had so long dogged her and her family. But things seemed to have barely changed for the resident of Odisha's Puri district, who despite being a civil engineering student in Puri, was forced to work as a daily wage worker for a local road project under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) to pay the remaining fees of her private engineering college.
Rosy has been working on the project since the past three weeks or so now, digging fields, collecting and carrying soil on her head for making a road in her village, all to earn a meagre sum of Rs 207 per day.
Rosy, who has five sisters, comes out daily in the morning to the construction site to shovel sand and carry them to the site for road building. One of her sister, who is also pursuing a B.Tech in engineering has been helping Rosy with the MNREGS work so that she can arrange for the due amount soon and get her degree.
"After completing my diploma in Civil Engineering in 2019, I am not able to arrange funds for my Bachelor's degree. I also have to pay an outstanding amount of Rs 24,500 to the diploma school," Behera told news agency ANI.
Odisha: An engineering student in Puri works as a daily wager to pay her college fees."Rosy couldn't pay her college fees because of financial situation. She hasn't received diploma certificate. We'll look into the matter," says Welfare Extension Officer, Delang block (27.01) pic.twitter.com/lSggLVnTIy— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2021
After her diploma finished in 2019, Rosy had sought her options where she learnt from a private engineering college that she can pursue a B.Tech program on a government scholarship. She was told that since she hailed from a Scheduled Caste (Harijan), her tuition fees would be taken care of by the government but not the hostel and college bus fee.
She told ANI, "I was denied my diploma certificate by the college authority, despite my repeated request to college authorities and local MLA. I could not find other options to clear my hostel dues and bus fees. As I am a Harijan girl, the government was paying my entire college fees. But hostel and Bus fees were not included in it. Even our house is constructed on government land. As I passed matric with a good number, I got a scholarship from the government and joined Barunei Institute of engineering and technology (BIET) Khordha."
The Block Development Officer, Delang Block Sheshdev Rout assured help to Rosy and promised to help her with her dire situation.
"Rosy couldn't pay her college fees because of the financial situation. She hasn't received a diploma certificate. We will report it to the administration to help her" he said.
(With inputs from ANI)