By Sharon Thambala
Amaravati, Nov 4 (IANS): More than 1,500 private medical college students in Andhra Pradesh are being denied academic certificates by their college managements which have formed a cartel on the pretext of not paying the full amount of tuition fees.
"When we joined private medical colleges, they hiked fees by up to 200 per cent which was against the fee regulation committee rules. Then the students approached the high court which ruled in their favour and told them to pay 50 per cent of the fees and give a bond for the balance amount to be paid as directed by the court," a student from the Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Medical College in Gannavaram told IANS.
Though private medical colleges hiked fees to up to Rs 7 lakh in 2017, he said they paid only Rs 3.4 lakh as directed by the court and started their medical education, along with pledging the declaration for the balance amount.
He said no private college can raise fees beyond 5 per cent after an academic year but all the 16 private colleges ganged up and fixed a fee of Rs 7 lakh for A category seats, and even higher for category B and C medical seats.
As a post graduate medical student, he paid Rs 3.4 lakh per year for three years and completed his MS course three months ago but is yet to receive his certificates from his college because it is laying a claim on the balance Rs 3.6 lakh fees per year.
"As the case is still under the purview of the court, the college managements are saying that they will not give the certificates unless we pay the full fees," complained the student.
Meanwhile, the student is currently idle as he can neither seek admission for a higher super specialty course, nor gain employment somewhere without the certificate.
"We even requested the colleges to hire us as senior residents but they have turned down that request also. They are neither giving us our certificates, nor hiring us or following the court orders to give us the certificates," said another medical student from the GSL Medical College and General Hospital in Rajahmundry.
In addition to not issuing the certificates for the courses which the students pursued in their colleges, these institutes are also in possession of their earlier academic certificates such as Class X, intermediate, MBBS and others.
On October 10, the NTR University of Health Sciences, to which all these private colleges are affiliated, wrote to the principals of all the private medical and dental colleges, directing them to issue the certificates.
"You are informed to follow the interim orders of the high court and release the original certificates of all the post-graduate students (2017-18 batch) without insisting them for any bank guarantee or full payment," wrote K. Sankar, the registrar of NTR University of Health Sciences.
The registrar also instructed the colleges to get back with an explanation on or before 5 p.m. on October 12.
Sankar said the private colleges are blatantly flouting the university's orders, despite the court and the government also telling them to do so.
He said the state government has asked for more information on the issue to take an appropriate step.
However, the students lamented that the colleges are disregarding the varsity's directions and not responding to its directives.
Incidentally, the private colleges are not issuing certificates to two-year diploma course students as well, who had passed out a year ago.
Another student from NRI Medical college in Mangalagiri said some students have also met the Vice Chancellor of NTR Health University recently, who empathised with their predicament and said that the students were facing highly influential people.
The private college managements are not responding to even the letters written by the Vice Chancellor recommending issuance of certificates.
"All my certificates are with the college. At present I am zero. Why should I work in this country when we are being subjected to such difficulties," asked a student from the Narayana Medical College in Nellore.
According to the affected students, the private medical colleges cartel has also slashed the stipend money from Rs 90,000 to Rs 65,000 for the PG students because they had approached the court for relief.
"Some colleges just did not give any stipend at all," noted another student from the Asram Medical College in Eluru.