HYDERABAD: Over 1,000 engineering students of Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT) staged a protest at the college campus after students were told that they will have to pay an additional amount of `1.72 lakh towards fee by December 15. The protest call by the II year students of the college spilled out on to the streets and led to traffic blocks which were cleared only after an intervention from the Narsingi police.
While students alleged that they were arm-twisted into signing an undertaking that stated that they would have to pay an additional fee if and when the High Court gives a judgement, they were caught unawares when the management doled out the circular for payment of `5,000 in addition to the annual fee of `1.13 lakh for both I and II year students.
The Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee meanwhile has called the actions of the CBIT management “illegal”. A senior official of the regulatory body said that since a counter-appeal has already been filed by them, the college cannot levy the additional fee.“The college has said that it had agreed to fix the fee at `1.13 lakh under duress. In our counter we have asked them to prove what duress they were put under. In any case, unless notified by the government, the college can not raise the fee,” the official said. It may be recalled that in June 2016, the college went to the TAFRC with a plea to hike fee on grounds that the current fee does not cover their expenses.
When the proposal was rejected, it then approached the High Court seeking permission to levy `2,59,867 as fee payable yearly. In the absence of a response from the TAFRC, the education department or the Telangan State Council of Higher Education, the HC on October 30, 2017, said that the colleges “may charge `2 lakh”. It was only later the TAFRC filed a counter, but by then CBIT had started telling the I and II year students that they will have to cough up the amount.
“The college does annual admissions worth `20 crore. And nearly 50 per cent of its faculty is paid a net monthly salary of `30,000. Then they say that they don’t have money to meet the expenditure. This is nothing but a farce,” said Ramakrishna Reddy, president of Lecturers Association. He also questioned the rationale behind the 100 per cent fee hike. “Its nothing but greed of the new management,” the teacher said.
Students said that the college forced them into signing the undertaking and said that they would’nt be allowed to write the semester end examinations. “How can they increase the fee in the middle of the academic session,” said Vemual Avinash, a II year student. Repeated attempts to reach the college management evoked no response.