The hunger strike by city students demanding action against colleges that have been charging fees from Scheduled Caste (SC),Scheduled Tribe (ST),Other Backward Caste (OBC) and other students from the reserved categories entered the fourth day on Saturday.
While the state government norms allow 50-100 per cent fee waivers to them,most colleges in the city have been charging tuition fees despite the state social welfare department ordering criminal proceedings against officials of some of these colleges.
Over 120 students and alumni of various city colleges,including ILS Law College,Fergusson College,Modern College,SP College,Wadia College and others have joined the protest. There are more than 300 students in the city awaiting tuition and examination fee refunds.
Siddharth Sharma,who is on hunger strike said,Our protest is against government inaction. Back in 2010 we were on a fast for the same cause. Though we have received repeated assurances about our fee refunds,there has been no work at the ground level. We still retain our fee receipts,but even now colleges keep charging fees from every batch,flouting all norms. While the state social welfare department has ordered criminal action against ILS Law College,the Pune district social welfare department is yet to take action.
Prashant Mahajan,an alumnus of Wadia College from the 2009-11 batch,said,I got enrolled in a Jalgaon college for my under graduation course where I got a scholarship and my fee was refunded. So I thought there would be similar procedure in Wadia college. But despite repeated reminders,the college has not refunded my fees. During both the years of my M.Sc course,I have paid more than Rs 40,000 and 50 per cent of it is to be refunded as per the norms for the OBC quota,under which Im an applicant.
Officials from the social welfare department were not available for comments. When contacted,vice-principal of Wadia College for Arts and Science S L Bonde said,Just four to five days back our collegesss records were audited by a team from the social welfare department and all our records were found up to date,except for 2009-10 and 2010-11 as we received the disbursement amount only in November 2011. The disbursement process is on already and we believe the matter will be resolved soon.