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Govt forces CU hand on hike

A circular from the state government forced Calcutta University to roll back its plan to increase the registration fee from Rs 100 to Rs 500.

The decision to scrap the plan, taken at a meeting of the CU syndicate on Wednesday, follows widespread protests by various student unions.

“We have withdrawn the proposal to raise the fee,” vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said after the syndicate meeting.

“We have decided to stick to the current fee of Rs 100 for the sake of the students. The move will encourage more students to enrol for higher education,” Das said.

The registration fee was last raised in 2002.

The vice-chancellor said the higher education department during the day had sent a circular to the university, asking it not to raise the registration fee.

The rollback came as a surprise to many teachers and officials because the authorities had been maintaining till Tuesday evening that the hike was a necessity in view of the rising expenditure.

Several officials had suggested that the university would not bow to any pressure and withdraw the proposal for a hike.

Had the registration fee been raised, the university would have earned an additional Rs 8 lakh a year.

A source in the government said the circular to CU followed a “tough stand” taken by the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) against the proposed hike.

A delegation of TMCP, led by state president Shanku Deb Panda, had met higher education minister Partha Chatterjee on the Assembly premises on Tuesday evening and sought his intervention to get the fee-hike proposal withdrawn, said a source.

A large number of students representing the TMCP-controlled unions on various CU campuses were seen waiting outside the syndicate room during the meeting on Wednesday.

Other student bodies, such as the CPM’s Students’ Federation of India and the SUCI-backed Democratic Students’ Organisation, had been staging demonstrations on CU campuses as well as at colleges to protest the proposed hike. These groups, however, were not allowed on the CU campus on Wednesday.

A section of CU officials said the university enjoys the freedom to frame its fee structure.

The vice-chancellor said students having BPL cards and those belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, OBC and physically handicapped categories will have to pay Rs 25 as registration fee.

“We are happy that the government and the university have accepted our demand,” said a TMCP leader.

Teenager killed

Saqlain Khan, 15, died after being hit by a truck in the Metiabruz area on Tuesday. Police said Khan, a resident of Chandipur, was cycling down Karbala Road when the truck hit him. The driver has been arrested.