Itanagar: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has termed the statement made by state education minister Taba Tedir regarding student stipends as “callous and insensitive”.

In a recent interview with a local media house, Tedir had reportedly said that full stipend was not being given to the students this year due to the lack of physical classes owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The blunt statement made by the education minister has created unnecessary heartache and angst among the student community of the state which the union disagrees in totality and calls for immediate retrospection of his stand. Though there were no physical classes during the entire pandemic period, online classes were held and all along the requisite fees for different education activities viz library fees, exam fees, games and sports fees, etc, were collected from the students,” AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said in a statement on Tuesday.

Dai said that the education minister and his department officials must be also aware that owing to the unprecedented lockdown and imposition of online classes, the student community had to completely rely on smartphones and net recharges which were extra burdens.

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The AAPSU general secretary said a delegation of the union on Tuesday also met various authorities dealing with stipend and scholarship to ascertain the facts and found that altogether 16,374 students have applied for stipend amounting to Rs 27 crore (approx) and the file has already been send to higher authorities for necessary clearance.

“Any act of divergent against the rightful dues of the student community in getting their stipend and scholarship will not be tolerated by the union. We call upon the state government to expedite the file process with all urgency so that the stipend is disbursed among the students at the earliest,” the AAPSU said.

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