The monthly stipend of students pursuing Master of Technology at College of Engineering, Pune, (CoEP) has been stuck for the past six months. While the college administration blamed All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) for not disbursing money on time, AICTE in turn blamed college for not raising the issue with them.
“The college fee is around Rs 40,000. Most of us come from middle-class backgrounds. My family was unable to afford such a huge fee and hence I had to take an education loan. The interest on this loan was given to the bank every month through the stipend money that
I used to receive. But since January, I haven’t received any money and the interest on the loan amount is piling up,” said a second year student. Gate qualified students receive a monthly stipend of Rs 8,000 from the government. This has not been received by CoEP students since January.
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M.Tech students also do not have hostel facilities, provided by the college to B.Tech students. “Cost of living in the city is high. And since studies take up most of our time, we are unable to take up part time jobs. We live as paying guests or in rented rooms which costs more than hostel fee. The demand for M.Tech hostel is long-pending. Then there is the cost of food and other necessities. All this was met by the stipend amount but now without it, it is tough for us,” said a student.
The college administration blamed AICTE for non availability of stipends. “There are over 700 students studying in M.Tech course. The AICTE had first told us that there was some funds’ shortage due to elections and change of government and hence there was delay in giving stipends. Then after election, they told us that the entire thing of disbursing funds was in the processing stage and since lakhs of students receive stipend across India, it was taking time. As soon as the processing ends, the students will receive money. We hope that the students get their stipend soon,” said Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Director, CoEP.
SS Mantha, Chairman AICTE said, “Entire process of stipend disbursal has come under direct cash transfer method- money goes directly to the students’ bank account rather than it first going to college and then college disbursing it to students. If the students have filled their forms on time, they should have got the money by now. If the students have not received money till now, why didn’t the college approach us? If they had approached us, we would have immediately resolved the problem. This means, there is something that the college is holding back.” But when asked about the paucity of funds due to elections and change in government, Mantha said, “I cannot comment on this issue.”