Private engineering colleges in the state urged the state government on Saturday to release the arrears pertaining to tuition fee reimbursement for the academic year 2012-13 immediately.
Film personality M Mohan Babu, who runs Sri Vidyaniketan educational institutions which include engineering and professional colleges, along with members of the Andhra Pradesh Private Engineering Colleges Managements Association (APPECMA), a body formed by 25 engineering colleges, said that with the government not clearing its dues, the private colleges were in financial doldrums.
He said the government, which had cleared the 2011-12 fee reimbursement dues to professional colleges, cleared just about 20 to 25 percent of the dues for 2012-13 by releasing Rs 854 crore out of the Rs 3,400 crore dues and leaving Rs 2,544 crore as still outstanding.
‘’Non-clearance of government’s dues and escalating costs of running the colleges will force the managements to close down their colleges. We are not here to threaten anyone or create any problem for the student. We are here neither to attack the government nor to criticise it. We are only expressing our problems and urging the government to release our money which is with it and nothing more,’’ Mohan Babu said. At the time of counselling for admissions, the government collects the fees for the colleges but it takes much time to give the fees collected back.
Mohan Babu said his college was to get Rs 9 crore and several others ranging from Rs 2 crore to Rs 8 crore each. There are 725 private professional colleges in the state.
Even the central government’s grant for SC/ST fees and scholarships was not being passed on to the private colleges which offer education to SC, ST students as per rules and regulations, Mohan Babu said.
M Santhi Ramudu of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology in Nandyal and vice-president of APPECMA said that with large sums of money getting stuck with the state government, payment of salaries and dealing with other issues became a tremendous task for them.
‘’As the delay in clearance of dues from the government increases, the interest on colleges’ bank loans also mounts. An engineering college has, on an average, to foot an electricity bill of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh every month while the salaries work out to be around Rs 1.50 crore in addition to Provident Fund contribution and income tax payment. Any delay in payment will warrant fines and penalties, even imprisonment in case of income tax default. We have to take bank loans and, with interest increasing month by month,’’ Ramudu explained.