Bhubaneswar: With over 5.5 lakh tribal girls staying in different government-run hostels and stray cases of exploitation including sexual harassment cases coming to the fore, Odisha govenrment today issued fresh guidelines to ensure strict implementation of rules and Sandard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The direction was issued by Chief Seretary AP Padhi while reviewing the activities of the ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department. “Maintain strict vigil on implementation of the guidelines and SOPs for the safety of girls,” AP Padhi said in asked the officials present in the meeting.
The Chief Secretary said that detailed guidelines and SOP on safety and security of hostellers, safe cooking and serving, food menu chart along with code of conduct and duties of the each staff have been circulated to all concerned.
So far 1883 matrons and 276 auxilary nursing mothers have been appointed for girls’ hostels across the state, he said. Besides, a special School and Hostel Monitoring Unit (SHMU) has been put in place in the department on 24-hour operation with a dedicated telephone.
AP Padhi also directed the department to ensure strict enforcement of safety and security measures in residential schools and girls hostels. The departmental officers were asked to act vigilantly and proactively in the matter.
“The telephone is connected through hotline with girls hostels from where any boarder can directly communicate her difficulties to the state headquarter for immediate assistance,” said department secretary Surendra Kumar.
Surendra Kumar said disbursement of scholarships to ST, SC and OBC students had been made in time and transparent through introduction of centralized disbursal system on DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) mode. A dedicated scholarship management unit has been instituted in the department for regular monitoring of the system, he said.
He also said that a total number of 22,13,868 students had been covered under scholarship programme in the academic year 2016-17 including 16,65,706 students under pre-matric programme and 5,48,162 under post-matric programme.
Out of the total students around 11,56,963 belonged to ST, 7,98,382 to SC and 2,58,523 to OBC, he said.
Stating that the scholarships are being disbursed directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries from the state treasury, he said steps were being taken to modify and upgrade the “Prerana” portal and in its integration.
Students were advised to give their aadhar number in the online ‘Prerana’ portal while applying for the scholarships.
Two urban hostels have been set up in Bhubaneswar to facilitate higher education for ST and SC students. Presently around 700 students are residing in these hostels and pursing their higher studies.