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Ramesh aid prod for slain SP’s kids

Ranchi, Dec. 21: There is a ray of hope for 18-year-old Aparajita and her two siblings who dream of becoming dutiful IPS officers just like their late father.

Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has directed state chief secretary R.S. Sharma to take immediate steps to address academic concerns of the children of slain Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar who died fighting Maoists in Dumka in July this year.

In a letter to Sharma last week, soon after The Telegraph highlighted how dearth of financial resources might slay the dreams of Balihar’s three children, Ramesh questioned when exactly the state government planned to keep its promise to sponsor their higher education.

Sharma, known to be a sensible IAS officer, acted fast. “I have directed the home department to finish necessary formalities so that Amarjit Balihar’s two daughters and son get their education expenses reimbursed,” he told The Telegraph within 24 hours of receiving the missive.

According to government rules, fees could be directly drawn in favour of an institute for which the family needed to provide details. “We have contacted Amarjit Balihar’s family members and have requested them to do the needful while apprising them of our serious intention to take care of academic expenses on a continuation basis,” the chief secretary said.

Balihar’s eldest daughter Aparajita is, currently, pursuing a BBA course at BIT-Mesra, but plans to crack the civil services examination after her graduation. Private coaching for the same is expected to come at a hefty price tag. Sister Shalini (17) is a Class XII commerce student at Kairali School, while their brother Avinash (15) is a ninth grader at St Xavier’s School in Doranda, Ranchi. They want to follow in Aparajita’s footsteps.

Earlier, chief secretary Sharma had written to home secretary N.N. Pandey, seeking details of compensation and benefits offered to family members of the late SP.

Home department sources said Rs 63.32 lakh had been paid as admissible salary for the rest of Balihar’s service tenure. Also, Rs 10 lakh has been given to the family as ex gratia, leave salary for 300 days, group insurance benefits, gratuity, GPF and family pension.

“As far as education aid is concerned, money can be paid directly to an institution or reimbursed to the beneficiary,” a department source said.

S. Balihar, younger brother of the Pakur SP, confirmed they had received a call from additional DGP Rezi Dungdung, seeking academic fee details of his nieces and nephew.

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