Education in jeopardy for foreign students as HRA is not paid

BENGALURU: Several international students under Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships studying in the city are in a fix, as house rent allowances have not been paid to them for the past three months. As a result, students claim that they are now being forced out of their rented houses, jeopardising their education in the city.

Criticising the decisions, a section of international students under the scholarship, staged a demonstration in front of ICCR Regional Office on Friday. ICCR authorities, however, said that the decision to withhold scholarships to students who are staying outside hostels has been taken by the Ministry of External Affairs.

What is the dispute?

International students from countries such as Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mauritius, Bangladesh and others, told Express that everything had been smooth until the beginning of the academic year. “Some of us were in the first year last year and had to stay in the hostels. Looking at the conditions of some of the hostels, authorities at the regional office of ICCR had agreed to provide us the allowances, so that we can stay on our own,” one of the students from Afghanistan said.

However, after the students had relocated from the hostels, ICCR decided not to pay the allowances, citing the decision by the Ministry. A Bangladeshi student, who preferred anonymity, added that the decision had caused a lot of inconvenience. “House owners are now demanding us to pay up or vacate the houses we are living in now.

Where are we supposed to go?” he questioned. Other students who participated in the protest said that the previous regional director of ICCR had facilitated their move outside the hostels, as some of these facilities were in poor shape. “Some hostels are good and international students are staying there. Its a problem in such colleges, where facilities are found lacking,” they said.

“Previously when we demanded the allowances, ICCR asked us to get No Objection Certificates from our Embassies. When we have the NOCs now, they are insisting that we stay in hostels,” they added.

P Venugopal, Regional Director of ICCR said that the Ministry had taken a call on the issue, following the Tanzanian girl incident. “We are aware that students are facing problems. We have written to the main office, asking them to sort out the issue without causing more problems to the students,” he said.

On NOCs issued to students by embassies, he said that Ministry had issued strict instructions in a recent meeting of ICCR held in the third week of August. “Wherever there are hostel facilities in colleges, students with ICCR scholarships have to stay in hostels.

Exceptions are provided in colleges such as Chitrakala Parishat, where hostel facilties are not adequate,” he said. A proposal, he said, is also being sent to the main office, asking them to provide the allowances from June to October and later insist them to stay in hostels. “We will also make sure that complaints of students with respect to hostels are also addressed,” he added.

Credits The New Indian Express

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