Bhubaneswar: Where there’s a will there’s a way. Twenty-two-year-old Odisha woman Lozy Behera wanted to continue her studies but had no option to pay the fees. Despite being an engineering diploma holder, Lozy enrolled herself as a labourer under the MGNREGA scheme to fund her college fees.
Born in a poor Dalit household, Lozy worked for 20 days at a construction site in Puri’s Delang block for a daily wage of ₹207. The situation was warranted by the fact that the woman had to pay the fees for her engineering diploma certificate which “college had withheld seeking clearance of dues”.
A local news channel highlighted the matter of the Bhubaneswar-based private college student who was seen carrying a basket of mud at the road construction site. The news prompted district officials to reach out to her with much-needed assistance. The matter was highlighted so much so that the college authorities soon rushed to her residence to handover her engineering certificate.
“I never felt ashamed of the work that I was doing. Some may look down upon me, but I don’t see a reason why I should feel ashamed. I worked for the community road development project and earned ₹207 a day,” a mason’s daughter, Lozy was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The woman was also accompanied by two of her five sisters — one of them pursuing a B.Tech degree — working alongside her for the road development project.
“We were sitting idle at home during the lockdown when sarpanch Pradymnya Parida asked villagers to work for the road development project. I found it to be a good opportunity to earn something to pay my college fees. Authorities at my college had refused to give me my certificate for not being able to pay hostel fees of ₹44,500. My father works as a mason, and we are five sisters… I could deposit only ₹20,000,” 22-year-old said.
The social service wing of the ruling BJD, Odisha Mo Parivar has recently handed over a cheque of ₹30,000 for her education. Puri collector Samarth Verma heaped praise on Lozy for her hard work and perseverance. Verma also said that he would try to find her a job in the district.
Eldest among the siblings, Lozy promised to support her sisters for their education. “Puri collector Samarth Verma has promised to find me a job. I am hopeful that I will be able to support my family once I get a job,” Lozy added.