Contention about the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme, which has replaced the canteens in the tribal hostels, has once again come out in the open after Amit Valvi (25), a resident of the Bhosari hostel, fell from the third floor. While a group of students have blamed the DBT system for the accident, another group has staunchly denied this.
Earlier this week, Valvi was found unconscious on the ground floor of his hostel in Bhosari. Valvi, it appeared, had fallen through the gap in the staircase from the third floor of his hostel. Police are still investigating the cause of his fall. At present, Valvi is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Moshi with the state government taking care of his medical expenses.
Hailing from Akrani (Dhadgaon) taluka of the remote Nandurbar district, Valvi was pursuing his MSc from a city college.
Majority of the inmates of the hostels in Bhosari were against the DBT scheme and, thus, taken to criticising this openly. They said although the DBT amount was credited to Valvi’s account on time this does not solve the question of food for the student.
Madan Pathave, a student leader, said the scheme has created an unnecessary pressure on students who now have to arrange for their own meals. “Instead of studying we are forced to look for meals at affordable rates,” he said.
However, a counter perspective has also been put forward by another section in the tribal community.
Sandeep Sabale, project president of the Integrated Tribal Development Project, Ghodegaon, refuted all the allegations.
“The DBT amount was transferred to his account on time. This effort of giving it a different angle is completely wrong and sends out a wrong picture of the community,” he said.
Sabale, who is appointed to the position by the state government, said a message on social media had blamed the government and the administrators for the accident, which is wrong.
Elaborating his points, Sabale said the protests are being orchestrated by what he called “unauthorised youths”, who are staying in the hostels without permission.
“Such people are spearheading this campaign. But they are responsible for most of the problems in the hostels,” he added.
It might be remembered that the state government had decided to suspend the operations of messes in tribal hostels and replaced them with DBT instead. Students were to be paid money in their bank accounts, which they would have to use to arrange their food.