Except for minor voices of dissent, the state government on Sunday managed to convince most of the managements of engineering colleges to hike their fee to Rs 35,000 per year for both convenor and management quota seats. The new fee is Rs 4,000 more than the earlier fee for convenor quota. The schedule for counselling will be announced on Monday by the AP State Council of Higher Education chairman and classes are expected to start in the second week of September.
These decisions were the result of the fruitful talks between the Cabinet sub-committee and college managements at the Ministers quarters Sunday. Earlier several rounds of talks had borne no decisive action, delaying the already-late admissions.
Speaking to reporters, the sub-committee chairman Pitani Satyanarayana said that the government would fully reimburse the hiked fee as usual. The additional burden on the government would be around Rs 64 crore.
He also clarified that the counselling would be conducted in the existing form, that is, it would be online counselling for convenor quota but not for management quota seats.
The Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (AFRC) had recommended a minimum fee of fee Rs 50,200 and a maximum of Rs1 lakh as uniform fee. But, the government, which would have had to bear a massive fee reimbursement burden or suffer the political and student backlash for capping the fee sop, convinced the managements to settle for Rs 35,000.
Around 690 colleges agreed to this. However some colleges are still demanding for Rs 38,000 as fee. Another 25 colleges disagreed with the government and demanded that the fee of Rs 50,200 be put in place.
“We will move the court against the proposed Rs 35,000 fee,” Engineering College Managements chairman Aurora Ramesh said. But, differing with him, Rural Engineering Colleges Association general secretary Aljapur Srinivas said that they agreed with the government. He said that talks were held in a cordial atmosphere.
However, it was said that the government had managed to wring a consent out of most colleges after it constituted a Task Force of IPS officers and education officials to inspect the infrastructure or lack of it in colleges.
“Besides task force committee with an IPS officer, Botcha Satyanarayana too threatened us with dire consequences at the meeting. We have no option but to agree with the government,” chairman of an engineering college said. The colleges, however, held strong on the demand that the fee of `35,000 be only for this year unlike the government proposal of keeping it for the next two years. The managements demanded that the fee should be hiked further.
Earlier in the day, deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha made the college representatives wait for the meeting which was supposed to start at 11 a.m. Much to their displeasure, Rajanarasimha turned up after 12 noon as he had gone to attend a marriage in Medal district.