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College and cop come to Balurghat boy’s aid
- Uttam Karmakar offered seat in St Xavier’s, police officer says he will pay for books

Siliguri/Balurghat, July 11: The North Bengal St Xavier’s College has said it wants to sponsor the education of Uttam Karmakar, the boy from Balurghat who scored 82.4 per cent in the higher secondary examination but could not take admission in any college because his family is poor.

Father Cherian, the principal of North Bengal St Xavier’s College, 20km from Siliguri, read of Uttam’s plight in The Telegraph’s Wednesday edition and came forward to help.

Until yesterday, the 18-year-old from Patiram, near Balurghat, despite his high score of 82.4 per cent, was in a dilemma about pursuing higher studies.

The monthly income of his family is Rs 1,500 just enough for a hand-to-mouth existence.

The college is an institution run by Jesuits at Rajganj.

“Our institution has been helping students from poor families to get education. We read about the boy’s financial constraints in The Telegraph and wanted to help. He appears to be a bright student and it would be unfortunate if he lost out on higher education. We are willing to admit him to our college and also provide boarding facilities, all free of charge,” Father Cherian said. The college, established in 2007 and under the North Bengal University, provides free education to 300 students from poor families.

It offers bachelor’s courses in arts, commerce and science.

“If he wishes, Uttam can study in a college of his choice near his house. We will provide financial support for his education. It may also be that he wants to study outside north Bengal. In that case, we can partially fund his education,” Cherian added. Uttam is the son of a van-puller and his mother works as a domestic help,

He completed his school education with financial support from teachers at Patiram High School. But going to college seemed like a distant dream for the boy who has managed to get 91 in English, 73 in Bengali, 93 in geography, 85 in Sanskrit and 70 in philosophy in the HS. He would put in more than eight hours of work in the fields to supplement the family income even while preparing for the examination.

Help has come to Uttam from another person also. Subir Karmakar, the officer in charge of Bhaktinagar police station on the outskirts of Siliguri, has offered to bear the admission fees and costs for Uttam’s books.

“I contacted the Patiram police officers as soon as I read about the boy in The Telegraph. Several brilliant students like him miss out on education because of lack of financial support, which is sad. I am willing to bear his admission expenses and buy books for him.”

Uttam said he was “overwhelmed” with the news. “I am really grateful that several people have offered help. I am happy that I will be able to continue my studies and become a teacher some day. I will get in touch with the college and the police officer and thank them,” he said.