The announcement of a date for commencement of counselling for engineering courses was put off yet again, to Friday, although the cabinet sub-committee on fee reimbursement met Thursday morning and discussed the matter.
Then in the evening, deputy chief minister Damodara Rajanarasimha, committee chairman Pitani Satyanarayana, tribal welfare minister Balaraju trooped to chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s office at Secretariat and emerged from that meeting to declare yet again that “the counselling schedule will be announced tomorrow.”
The tomorrow has not come for more than a week now. Sources said it may not arrive Friday either.
The snags are said to be legal, as college managements mull going to court against the fee structure the government desires to clamp upon them. On Thursday, the AP Private Engineering Colleges Managements Association (APPECMA) and some educational societies and individuals did file a petition in the High Court challenging the proposed tuition fee of `35,000 per year.
They sought from the court a rap on the government’s knuckles and a fiat to it to act in accordance with rules framed in 2007 and to consider the fee regime recommended by the Admission & Fee Regulatory Committee (AFRC) for 2012-13.
The cabinet sub-committee has proposed a uniform fee of Rs 35,000, the maximum it is prepared to reimburse to poor and backward class students. A majority of the colleges have agreed to it but around 25 are exploring legal options. They demand that the new fee be in accordance with AFRC recommendations, that is, a minimum of Rs 50,200 and a maximum of Rs 1 lakh.
Thursday morning’s Cabinet sub-committee meeting discussed the possible legal issues coming up and decided to seek the advice of the advocate-general. “The fee structure and the counselling dates are not an issue. We discussed the possible legal hurdles today,” a minister told Express.
To the government’s proposal of a uniform fee of Rs 35,000, none of the college managements have given undertakings stating agreement. The government has waited two days for them to do so but there was no purchase Thursday.