Mizoram students go on hunger strike against delayed scholarship

Aizawl: The Mizoram Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Aizawl, announced plans to begin an indefinite hunger strike by Thursday night in response to the prolonged delay in disbursing the second installment of scholarships.

MZP members and students have been holding sit-in demonstrations at the Mizoram Scholarship Board Office premises for the past three days, venting their frustration over the withheld payments.

On Thursday, MZP leaders engaged with Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, seeking resolution to the scholarship payment impasse. Zoramthanga assured them that the funds for the second installment were deposited into the Mizoram Scholarship Board account. He emphasized the urgency of distribution, asserting that with the elections concluded, there is no risk of political advantage.

However, when MZP leaders approached Higher & Technical Education Department Secretary, Esther Lalruatkimi, they were met with a roadblock. Lalruatkimi cited the necessity of obtaining permission from the Election Commission before releasing the scholarships.

In response, MZP appealed to her to advocate for the students’ needs and push the Election Commission for swift permission. Criticizing Lalruatkimi’s stance, an MZP official expressed disappointment with what they perceive as a lack of advocacy for student welfare.

As these efforts failed to yield results, MZP has decided to proceed with an indefinite hunger strike till their demands are met. The Mizoram Scholarship Board had earlier pointed to the Election Commission’s permission requirement for the release of scholarships.

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On Wednesday, MZP representatives engaged with the Mizoram Joint Chief Electoral Officer to expedite the permission process. 

As of September 25, 2023, an amount totaling 1,787.48 lakhs earmarked for scholarships remains held by the Mizoram government. The delay impacts 11,462 students from Mizoram and 3,010 students from outside the state eagerly awaiting the crucial second installment of their scholarships.

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