Maratha quota students at South Mumbai college face the heat

A Wadala college has asked students, who were given discounts on fees under the quota, to now pay up the whole amount

At a time when students are busy preparing for their exams, first-year students from a city-based engineering institute are worried about not being allowed to appear for their examination. Reason? They had taken admission under the Maratha quota, which gave them huge discounts on fees and now the college has asked them to pay up the full amount.

“I got my daughter admitted to this college only because with our caste certificate I had to pay Rs 10,000 annually. Now, suddenly we are being asked to pay up the entire amount, which is above a lakh,” said the father of a first-year student studying at Vidyalankar Institute of Technology, Wadala.

Apparently, the college has asked around 20 such students to pay up if they want to sit for their final examinations. “If my daughter has to continue in the same institute, I’ll have to shell out another lakh and a half as fees for the next academic year,” he added.

However, the college authorities vehemently denied stopping any student from appearing in the final exams. “We have never stopped any student from appearing for the exams. The fees have to be collected since we are an unaided institute. The government is not reimbursing us for the admissions that were given on concession under the quota,” said Varsha Bhosle, vice principal of the institute. She added that the college has acted only on the directive of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) and the University of Mumbai (MU).

The decision for Maratha quota in educational institutes was introduced in August 2014 and was approved by the then newly formed BJP government. However, the Bombay High Court put a stay order on it. Against the HC stay, a Bill stating reservation for the Educationally and Socially Backward Classes (ESBS) was introduced by the state government at the Assembly in December, but till date, there has been no clarification this.

According to officials at MU the DTE has recently announ-ced that all admissions done under the Maratha quota will be regularised. However, there is no clarity on the fee structure.

Dayanand Mesharam, joint director of DTE, said that there’s still no word from the government about the fees of students who have already sought admissions under the Maratha quota. “We are hoping for a clarification on this soon,” he stated.

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