Hunger strike struck down as Savitribai Phule Pune University decides to pay off students’ fees
Postgraduate students began the hunger strike on July 12, demanding answers for the delay.pune Updated: Jul 17, 2018 16:40 IST
The postgraduate students of the department of the school of energy studies, under Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), have been protesting for months over stipend. They were also on hunger strike for the last five days.
The protesting students can now sit at ease, as the varsity has decided to pay the fees for the two academic years as compensation for delay in stipend.
The MTech students are under the fellowship of the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), for which they were supposed to get a stipend of ₹12,000 every month.
However, for the past 2 years, despite several attempts by the students, no one has received the monthly stipend and many students have not been able to pay the course fee.
The postgraduate students began the hunger strike on July 12, demanding answers for the delay.
Nitin Karmalkar, vice-chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University(SPPU), taking cognisance of the matter, said in an official statement, “Understanding the difficult situation of the students, the university has decided to pay the fees of the students for two years, which they could not pay due to the delay in the payment of stipend by the ministry. We are in constant touch with the ministry to find a solution to this problem. Once the new and renewable energy (MNRE) sends the entire amount, we will deduct the fee amount and send the remaining to the students.”
With almost 15 days left for the coursework to be completed for this batch, the students feel, it is a late but much-needed silver lining. “Indeed it is good news as it does take the burden of fees from our shoulders, for now. For students who have paid the fees already, the university is going to refund the money into their bank accounts,”said 25-year-old Shilpa Naktode, 2nd year student of MTech in renewable energy. “But, in the long run, the university needs to make sure that the MNRE actually sends the money, so that we students can get what we deserve. For this, we have requested the varsity to allow two student representatives from the batch to continuously follow up with the ministry,” she added.
First Published: Jul 17, 2018 16:39 IST