Colleges & JNTU-HYD battle it out over service fees


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Engineering students studying in over 150 colleges affiliated to the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU-H) might just not be able to write their exams scheduled next month due to confusion over payment of service fee dues worth Rs 60 crore. The issue has been the bone of contention between colleges and the university for a long time now.

The common service fee is collected by colleges during admission as an infrastructural fee under which stationery, hall tickets and other developmental facilities are provided to students. While this fee, until 2011, was part of the state government's fee reimbursement scheme, it was later withdrawn unceremoniously. This has resulted in severe confusion over just who is expected to pay the common service fee on behalf of the students.

While JNTU-H, in the last one month, shot two reminders to all colleges seeking payment of the common service fee before October 28, the institutions have failed to honour the directives. "We repeatedly reminded them of the payment. Managements have taken us for granted due to which we may have to take strict action if the dues are not cleared soon," said N Yadaiah, registrar of JNTU-H, adding how only about seven or eight colleges have cleared the dues so far.

Sources fear that the outstanding dues, if not cleared in time, may lead to withdrawal of exams as the university may not release stationery and hall tickets. This in turn is likely to adversely impact students.

"We face this problem almost every year before the exams. While on the one hand the college management puts pressure on us to pay the service fee just before the exams, the government pays little heed to our concern each time we bring it up with the authorities. We feel extremely helpless," said Moin, a final-year engineering student from Gajwel.

Meanwhile, colleges have refused payment of service fee citing government delay in reimbursing students' fees. Although the government has cleared 25% of the fees, college managements are yet to receive 75% of the amount. Reportedly an estimated Rs 250 crore is due from the government.

The common service fee for first year students is Rs 4,500, out of which Rs 2,500 is paid to the university and Rs 2,000 is retained by the college for developmental purposes. The service fee from second year onwards is Rs 2,500.

Since colleges are neither receiving the amount from the government nor charging it from students, the dues have been pending for a while now. "There is an ambiguity over who will pay the common service fee. If the government issues a GO in this regard, then the university as well as management will get some clarity on this issue," said Syed Jamshed, secretary/correspondent of Syed Hashim College of Science and Technology in Gajwel.

Source : Times of India