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Will with merit finds a way
- Grant helps ‘dropout’ girl pursue her IIT dream

Paromita Das was almost forced to drop out in the first year of physics honours after losing her father. Two years later, the Jadavpur University student has enrolled for a masters degree at IIT Bombay.

Paromita, who had topped the 2006 HS examinations among girls in the Raigunj block of North Dinajpur with 89.1 per cent marks, is the first student whose education outside the state is being funded by the Udayan Shalini Fellowship, started by the Ambuja Realty Group.

The fellowship supports 300 needy girls from in and around Calcutta from Class XI till post-graduation by pooling contributions from various companies. Mentoring is also provided under the programme.

“When my father, a clerk in the public works department, passed away in 2007, I thought I would have to give up studies as my mother is a homemaker and my brother was in high school. My father’s pension of about Rs 5,000 was our only source of sustenance. I heard of Udayan from the deputy registrar of Jadavpur University. I got the scholarship after clearing a test and an interview,” said Paromita.

The Sourav Ganguly and Shah Rukh Khan fan made good use of the assistance, doing well in her graduation and making it to the IITs. But with the success came a worry — the MSc course fee of Rs 1.43 lakh, well beyond the means of the family.

“I had also got through the BTech (electronics and instrumentation) entrance exam at Jadavpur University and taken admission because I couldn’t afford the IIT course. As a last resort, I approached Parimal Chandra Das, the joint convener of Udayan Care. He requested Harsh Neotia (the head of Ambuja Realty) to sanction 50 per cent of the cost and it was instantly granted,” said Paromita, who pledges to stay connected with Udayan Care “forever”.

The rest of the course fee was provided as a loan by a nationalised bank that Paromita will have to repay once she gets a job.

“We are thrilled at her success and glad that we have helped her realise her dreams,” said Neotia.

“Five of our girls have secured over 60 per cent in post graduation this year and one has got a job with an MNC after her BTech. We want to sponsor 1,000 girls by 2011-12,” he added.

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