The newly tabled Maharashtra Universities Act has run into a controversy. Student unions have objected to the way fee-fixation committees are going to be formed under this Act. Alleging that the Act would favour college managements, student unions have pointed at how they have been conveniently kept away from participating in these committees. Even as these committees will see representation from students and parents as individuals, unions feel that with their absence, there is no one to pressurise college managements. Parents and students are individually scared of talking against college managements, let alone on sensitive issues like fee-related matters.

Student unions feel that their absence is an indirect way of supporting college managements, who will not have anybody’s objection while deciding the fee structure of their choice. This will put students and parents in a difficult situation, claim student unions.

Vaibhav Narawade from the Citizen Forum, an NGO working against corrupt college managements, told mid-day, “The formation of the fee fixation committee under the newly proposed Act has representation of students and parents. But as individuals, they are not strong enough to stand against management giants. This is like giving complete liberty to managements in taking decisions over fee matters. We have seen how a single parent cannot fight against the management; here we are talking about fixing fee structures for all colleges.”

One-sided approach
Adding to this, Ajay Tapkir from the Prahar Vidyarthi Sanghatana, a student organisation, said, “Students have always been turning to us with their issues, because as an individual, they fear the conse- quences of speaking against college managements. With the involvement of student unions, there is a lot pressure on managements and that is why the government wants to keep us away. These representatives from students and parents will be selected on the basis of those favoured by managements. We will not let the government continue with such a one-sided approach to an important aspect like fee structure.”