Hyderabad’s Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (SNIST) has hiked the fee for B.Tech by ₹40,000. Students boycotted classes and protested along with parents outside the Ghatkesar Campus on Friday against what they called an unjust and unfair move on the part of the administration. The fee of the convenor quota seats has been increased to ₹1.37 lakh from ₹97,000 per annum.
College authorities had sent the staff to every student’s home and informed them about the enhanced fee and said that they had come to collect fees immediately.
G Srinivas, President of Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology Parents Association said, “There are no rules that allow colleges to go to the residence of students to collect fee. Several parents were roughed up too by the people who came to collect the fee. Our children are harassed by college, their hall tickets are withheld until the last minute before examination. All this is being done just for money, and if on Friday the management does not meet the parents, we, along with students will have an indefinite protest.”
The issue had begun in 2016. At the time, the annual fee was ₹91,000. The college had increased it by ₹6000 back then. Students had protested but since the college had reasoned, an undertaking had been signed which obligated students to pay the fees if it’s increased by the Telangana Admission Fee Regulatory Committee. The students had then accepted it.
However, a few months later, the college had gone to the High Court, challenging the Telangana Admission Fee Regulatory Committee’s withholding the change in fee decision of the college administration to keep it at ₹97,000 . Administration’s demand to increase it to ₹1.37 lakh was rendered possible but by an order issued by a single judge in an interim order.
Following this, the college began to implement the hiked fee. Parents, however, argue that the issue is still being heard in the court and therefore they are not liable to pay the extra fee until the final court order and a government order (GO) to that effect be issued.
D. V Krishna Rao, The treasurer of the Parents’ Association argued, “The matter is pending before a bench and the college does not have a GO.”
There have also been cases of students having been sent late to the exam halls, ones who did not pay the increased fees. In many cases, the administration has asked students to pay ₹80,000 or more for the past two years as well, without giving them enough time to arrange such large amounts.
The Parents Association has made representations to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and to the Education Minister Kadiyam Srihari, who told them that the state government would look into it. However nothing has happened so far.
Meanwhile, Dr K Sumanth, the present Dean of Academics and former principal of the college, was approached by News Minute and asked why the college is not waiting for a GO before demanding the increased fees, he said: “the students who got admission in 2016 had signed an undertaking which informed them that the fee structure may change as per the Telangana Admission Fee Regulatory Committees orders. We had requested a revised fee of ₹1,54,000 but the High Court allowed for ₹1,37,000. We are fine with that also. We cannot keep waiting for the GO because the state government is just not responsive. The Court’s word is above all else and we are simply following that. If we get a final order which revises the fee to ₹97,000, we will be returning or adjusting that amount, but until then, this is what the students and parents have to follow.”
About the allegations of harassment, he said, “It is not harassment. We let the students write the exams half-an-hour late on “humane” grounds. It is true we restrained the students from writing their exams. They tell us every semester that they would pay the pending ₹40,000 the next semester, but that never happens. But we don’t want them to miss the exam altogether, we are also humane. The state government is not bearing our expenses and paying salaries to teachers in our college. We also have to sustain. We are going by the High Court order.”
The Parents Association, however, states, “We are parents at the end of the day. We don’t know how to do politics. It is an increase of ₹40,000. For a four year course, this comes up to ₹1,60,000 for us. We are middle-class families. If we have three kids, how are we supposed to educate them if we had to spend this much for each?”