VIJAYAWADA:The Dr B R Ambedkar Open University in Andhra Pradesh seems to have a become victim of the post-bifurcation rows between AP and Telangana states just as the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University. The Hyderabad-based Open University has 92 study centres, some of them deemed as regional centres, in AP. These centres have a total student strength of 3.5 lakh.
Now, as has been done in the case of the Telugu University’s three ‘sahitya peetalu’ in AP, the Open University has stopped payment of the salaries to the staff working in its study centres in AP and also stopped admissions in them for the current academic year.
While the 50 permanent staff members have not been paid their salaries for the month of August (payment due on Sept 1), the 450 part time and time-scale employees have not been paid their salaries for two months now - July (payment due on Aug 1) and August (payment due of Sept 1).
And, more importantly, there have been no admissions for the various courses of the university till date as the results of the entrance exam held in April have not been announced. Classes were supposed to be started in the second week of October.
In fact, trouble had started brewing in the study centres immediately after the bifurcation of the state last year, but the authorities concerned had ignored it. However, when the issue had become public, the Hyderabad High Court had taken up the case suo motu and asked the Telangana State Government not to close down any study centre of the BRAOU in AP.
With this, the Hyderabad-based university quietly stopped the payment of salaries since July as also the admission process. However, it has not issued any formal orders for the closure of the study centres in AP.
“We don’t know what to do. What is our fault ? Are we not employees of the varsity? It is sheer injustice. We urge the government, courts and people to do justice to us”, pleaded Hemalatha, a permanent BRAOU employee working in Vijayawada.
According to BRAOU Vijayawada Regional Centre Assistant Ddirector Ch C Prasad, the issue is becoming complicated day by day, particularly putting students of the state pursuing various courses in the varsity in a quandary. “There is uncertainty over the future of hundreds of employees and lakhs of students of the varsity. In spite of the court orders, our salaries have been stopped. Further, the results of the entrance exams - which were conducted in April and attended by 20,000 candidates -- have not been declared. There is no information either about the promotion of the second and third year students”, he rued.
There have also been no directions for the direct admissions of the regular students (those who pass Intermediate exams and are eligible for direct admission into the varsity without appearing for any entrance exam) till date.
“It is a pathetic situation and ironically most of the students are unaware of the issue, since it is of a distance mode and students are not organised as in a regular college or university,” explained one of the staff members, not wishing to be identified.
It appears that the BROAU has tightened the screws real hard on its 92 study centres in AP. Apart from denying salaries to the study centre employees, for two months in the case of majority of them, it has stopped payment of the amounts meant for the maintenance of study centres, payment of electricity bills and other miscellaneous expenditure over the last two months. The total amount due is Rs 3 lakh for the 92 centres. With power bills due, several of the study centres are on the verge of losing power connectivity.