Hyderabad: Students’ organisations gheraoed the administrative block of the University of Hyderabad on February 16, demanding scrapping of development fees, sports fees and other ‘unwarranted’ fees for the ongoing academic year as the students have been pursuing the courses through online mode amid the ongoing pandemic.
While the administration has said that they will constitute a committee to look into the matter, the students are demanding that the committee must include student representatives and the semester registration process must be withheld.
However, after the university administration refused to agree with the demands, the student organisations have said that they will continue with the protest at the administration block.
“The University charges huge amounts as development fees from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 lakh for students in management studies, public health and engineering departments. It has been nearly a year since the students have left the campus and are studying through online mode without availing any of the campus facilities,” said Siva Durga Rao, a PhD scholar in Economics.
The students’ union was joined by members of students’ organisations including Students Federation of India (SFI), Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) and Youth for Inclusive Sustainable Society (YISS).
“The Students’ Union was successful in stopping the administration from collecting the semester fees of the June-December session. But now, when the winter semester is about to begin, the university has come up with an autocratic circular to collect both semesters' fees without any relaxation,” said research scholar Mrityunjay Pandey of SFI.
Also read: Hyderabad University Students Relay Hunger Strike Against Admission Process Enters Second Day
“This will increase the financial burden on the students from economically weaker sections. We are demanding the administration to take back the circular,” he added.
He also told NewsClick that as part of a mass email protest, hundreds of students have written emails to their concerned departments and the administration demanding the scrapping of the development fees and other fees.
Abhishek Nandan, president of the University Students’ Union 2019-20 said that the university administation must convene an Academic Council to scrap the development fees, lab fees, internet fees and sports fees for the academic year.
“As the pandemic has led to such an unprecedented situation, the administration must take into account the financial hardships of the students who hail from weaker economic sections and must scrap the unwarranted fees,” he said, while addressing the protest gathering in front of the academic block.
He went on to add, “This is the first time that the students are demanding that the fees must be scrapped due to the pandemic but the administration is acting in an insensitive manner.”
Professor Nagarjuna, Dean of Students’ Welfare (DSW), visited the protest site and promised that the administration will look into the demands of the students and called the student activists for negotiations.
According to Siva Durga Rao, during the negotiations, “the students’ group asked for including student representatives into the committee to look into the demands. Further, the students urged the administration to announce a time frame for the committee and withhold the semester registration fee process till the committee submits its report. But, the administration did not agree with any of the demands. “We are left with no other option but to protest,” he said.
The Students’ Union has also appealed to the students to boycott the semester registration fees and join the protest.