The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Engineering fee waiver for ‘poor’
- 1000 students to benefit on basis of merit

Calcutta, July 12: The government today unveiled schemes to support poor but meritorious students aspiring to an engineering degree.

Higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty said up to 1,000 poor but meritorious students who clear the joint entrance examinations will enjoy free education from the session beginning next month.

Students of Jadavpur University, BE College, the government engineering colleges in Jalpaiguri and Kalyani and the textile and ceramic technology colleges would be eligible for the support.

As part of the scheme, another 1,000 students will be able to study degree courses in engineering and technology paying 50 per cent of their fees. Government engineering colleges charge about Rs 32,000 annually as tuition and development fees.

Chakraborty made the announcement in the Assembly while replying to Trinamul Congress’ Pankaj Banerjee, who asked if steps were being initiated to help the large number of students who could not afford admission to engineering colleges after the fee hike.

“The government is monitoring all reports concerning students who have cleared the joint entrance examinations but are unable to secure admission because of their financial condition. I must ensure you that not a single meritorious student will be deprived of higher education because of want of money,” the minister said.

The government has earmarked about Rs 16 lakh for the purpose. A thousand students would benefit from the support straight away, Chakraborty said.

The Opposition MLAs, however, demanded a statement from the minister on the measures being taken for hundreds of other students who failed to get admitted to private engineering colleges despite qualifying in the joint entrance because of “exorbitant” fees.

“I will ask the private institutions if they can introduce similar schemes for poor but talented students,” Chakraborty said.

When Trinamul’s Saugata Roy pointed out that most private institutions charge Rs 41,000 a year, the minister said the government had fixed the ceiling on tuition and other fees. According to that, none of the 45-odd private colleges should charge a student more than Rs 32,000 a year.

The government will investigate the charge against the private colleges, Chakraborty said.

The Opposition also demanded scrapping of the registration fee of Rs 5,000 that students are charged for attending pre-admission counselling sessions.

The minister promised to look into the demand.

He admitted before the Assembly that there was a scarcity of top quality faculty members in many private engineering colleges. Retired teachers from institutions of repute like Jadavpur, BE College and IIT Kharagpur are being recruited to fill up the void.

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