Kumram Bheem-Asifabad: Koyas, a sect of Scheduled Tribes, are lagging behind in literacy, particularly when it comes to professional courses like engineering and medicine. Students of this community are forced to quit studies after completing Intermediate course since their parents’ inability to afford higher education and related expenses including travelling charges. Consequently, they can’t compete in competitive exams for jobs in government departments though they have reservation for STs.
However, Arka Ashok, hailing from Koya tribal community, is determined to pursue engineering at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Punjab. He got a seat when he did well in JEE Mains 2020. Becoming a role model for other students in the tribe, Ashok is the first youngster from Penchikalpet mandal to get the admission into engineering course at the premier institution.
A native of remote Gundepalli village in Penchikalpet mandal, Ashok lost his father to some ailment when he was studying Class IV. His mother Gourubai is a daily earner. Despite financial challenges and the setbacks, the youngster performed well in academics and registered 6,416th rank in the pan-India entrance test held for admissions into IITs and NITs.
“I still cannot believe myself for getting an opportunity to pursue an engineering course at such one of the top institutions of the country. I am excited to set my foot on the campus. In the past, a youngster from the Koya tribe of Bejjur mandal was also qualified to study the course, but could not utilise the opportunity due to financial problems,” he told Telangana Today.
MLA comes forward to help
Sirpur (T) MLA Koneru Konappa recently came to the aid of Ashok, considering the latter’s poor financial background and family conditions. He promised to extend financial support of Rs 1.28 lakh, helping the youngster in paying fees and other expenditure needed for a period of four years. He patted the ranker for achieving the seat and called upon the students of this community to draw inspiration from him.
Ashok expressed his gratitude to MLA Konappa for sponsoring his education. “I always owe to the legislator for bearing the fees of my education. I will become an Indian Administration Service Officer and will serve the country,” said the gleaming tribal lad.
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