The Jharia division of Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) on Sunday awarded Jyoti fellowships worth Rs 3.60 lakh among 86 bright-but-economically-backward students to help them live their dreams.
Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar handed over the fellowships — worth various amounts ranging from Rs 3,500 to Rs 12,000 each — to the students at Jamadoba’s football grounds.
According to officials, those feted on Sunday included 45 students from the intermediate level, 29 from the graduate level, four polytechnic students, four postgraduates, three BTechs and one BEd student. All of them had been selected on the basis of a written test that had been conducted by TSRDS on December 2 last year.
The steel major had also on October 12 last year awarded fellowships worth Rs 5.83 lakh to 209 students, thus bringing the total number of students to be felicitated in this financial year to 295.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Sunday, Jharia unit head of TSRDS Keshav Ranjan said the fellowship programme had been initiated during the last financial year to help SC, ST and tribal students hailing from the lease hold areas of Tata Steel.
“Last year we distributed around Rs 8,08,500 among 266 students. This year the candidates applying for the fellowship, however, had to sit for an hour-long written test. They had to answer 45 objective type and short answer questions for selection,” Ranjan said.
Hailing Tata Steel’s efforts, DC Kumar asked the students to put their fellowship amounts to proper use.
The general manager of Tata Steel’s Jharia division Sanjay Singh, who was also present at the occasion, said they had carefully picked only those students who belonged to families that had an annual income of Rs 40,000 or less.
Though small, the monetary rewards has sure sparked big ambitions with some like Ursuline Polytechnic student Priyanka Khalko (18) stating that the amount would help her pursue her dreams of becoming an engineer. “Had it not been for Tata Steel my dreams of obtaining an engineering diploma would have been killed. My father is a farmer and there is no way he could have spared so much money,” Khalko said.
Echoing Khalko, Niki Kumar, an intermediate student who stays in Kalimela area, said her father had passed away two years ago leaving her and her mother to fend for themselves.
“My mother works as a house help. We did not have enough money to spare for education. That was when I heard about the fellowship and applied for it,” she said.