Members of the joint action committee (JAC), comprising 13 associations of private self-financed colleges in the district, staged a protest on Saturday against the Punjab government’s failure to release the funds under the post-matric scholarship scheme for students from the scheduled castes and backward classes.
A delegation of the committee handed over a memorandum to rural development and panchayats minister Sikander Singh Maluka demanding the release of the amount at the earliest.
The committee members said that funds under the scheme have already been released in states of Haryana and Rajasthan. The college staff had also staged a protest and submitted memorandums to deputy commissioners of their respective districts on October 7 demanding the release of Rs 480 crore under the scheme for academic session 2014-15 and 2015-16 by October 15.
Members expressed that neither the funds have been released nor members of the committee have been invited for any meeting.
The committee demanded that the amount under the scheme for the 2016-17 academic session should be paid as per the fixed fee structure of the colleges.
The fees of the students, who left the course in between, are also not being given to the colleges, which has put the colleges under great financial burden. They said an amendment should be made in the policy and the colleges should be paid the fees for the semesters the students have completed.
“The self-financed colleges were opened after the required approvals and certifications from the universities and the central bodies concerned, but the irony is that they are kept in the category of restaurants and marriage palaces for building plans and change of land use. So, there should be a different category for educational institutions and one-time fees should be levied on them,” demanded the committee.
“As already being done in neighbouring Haryana, permit fees and road tax should not be imposed on the transport service used by students. Institutional tax should also be removed,” the members said, adding that the requirement of no-pollution certificate for opening an educational institute is also not reasonable as educational institutes do not produce any kind of pollution, hence this condition should be removed. “Besides, like the industry, educational institutions should also get electricity at economical rates,” they said.
The committee demanded that the Punjab government should fulfill their demands by October 30, otherwise more than 1,000 self-financed colleges will be forced to close down for an indefinite period.