Dental college students from India launch protest

March 26, 2008
Protest follows dental college's refusal to give students university exam forms along with ongoing dispute with students over revised tuition fees.

From The Times of India

PUNE, India--Close to 150 first- and second-year students of the Sinhagad Dental College launched an indefinite protest in front of the college building recently following the college's refusal to give them the university exam forms in the wake of the ongoing dispute with students over revised tuition fees.

In December 2007, the SDC management had asked the students to pay a differential fee running into Rs 1.45 lakh to Rs 2.90 lakh per head, following the Supreme Court-assigned and the state-appointed Shikshan Shulka Samiti's (fee fixation panel) approval of the revised fee.

The college started in 2006-07 with a batch of 50 students, who were admitted against an ad hoc fee of Rs 94,600 each and the same was continued while admitting another 100 students in 2007-08 as the fee panel had not given its decision on the "cost-based" fee structure for SDC.

This was primarily because the college was only able to prepare and submit its maiden audited balance sheet for 2006-07, days after the commencement of 2007-08 academic year. The balance sheet forms the basis for the panel to work out and approve fees for colleges.

In November 2007, the panel approved an interim fee of Rs 2.40 lakh per student for the 2006-07 batch and Rs 2.58 lakh each for the 2007-08 batch. The differential works out to Rs 1.45 lakh per student each year, i.e., the first batch students, now into their second year of studies, have to pay more than Rs 2.90 lakh while the 2007-08 batch students have to pay over Rs 1.45 lakh.

Terming the hike as highly "unreasonable," the students have been agitating against the same and they have moved a review petition before the fee panel in Mumbai. The students received professional chartered accountants to decipher the balance sheet submitted by the SDC to the fee panel, to work out what should be the actual "cost-based" fee, as against what has been claimed by the college. The panel is to hear the review plea April 4.

The SDC's refusal to extend the exam forms to the student is seen as a retaliatory action. As one of the agitating students explained, "The college is being unreasonable considering that the fee panel is to make a final decision." He said, the students would continue to hold protests each day from morning to evening till the college gives them the exam forms.

When contacted, SDC principal Vikas Vartak refused to comment on the issue. "I cannot say anything on telephone," Vartak maintained.

For more about Sinhagad Dental College, go to Sinhagad Dental College.

To read more about dental school exams, go to dental exams.