‘Andhra medical students shouldn’t have gone to court’

By Sharon Thambala
Amaravati, Nov 12 : At a time when post graduate medical students and private college managements are at loggerheads in Andhra Pradesh over the latter allegedly depriving them of certificates, a college principal said the students shouldn’t have gone to the court and preferred to sort it out with the managements in the first place.

“Instead of going to the court, they (students) should have talked to the managements association or somebody or through DME (directorate of medical education) or something like that. Instead of going to court if that had happened, probably all these things wouldn’t have happened,” Dr. Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation’s Principal P. Satyanarayana Murthy told IANS.

Rather than such a dialogue, he said a legal dialogue is currently being battled by the students and the managements, which may keep going.

MS Education Academy

More than 1,500 MS and MD students are sitting idle in the southern state for three months already as the private medical colleges in which they studied are yet to give them their certificates for want of a portion of unpaid fees.

They are compelled to be idle at a time when the state is in acute need of additional medical hands to take on the coronavirus pandemic.

Irrespective of the pandemic, historically, several villages and mandals in Andhra Pradesh do not even have a single MBBS-qualified doctor, forcing the masses to make do with poorly trained rural medical practitioners (RMPs).

To better understand the certificates imbroglio, a relook at the arbitrary exorbitant fee hike a few years ago would be pertinent.

When the colleges hiked fees to Rs 7 lakh a year for A category seats and much higher for B and C categories in 2017, violating the fee regulation committee rules which mandate that hike should not be more than five per cent a year, the students went to the court.

The court ruled in their favour and told them to pay 50 per cent of the fees, furnishing a bond for the balance amount to be paid as directed by the court at a later date.

Accordingly, the students paid Rs 3.4 lakh per annum and started their medical education, along with pledging the declaration for the balance amount, which is yet to be decided by the court.

Currently, all of them have finished their courses and are eager to go for higher education or employment but the lack of certificates has crushed their aspirations.

However, Murthy claimed that it was not the private colleges which raised the fees but the government of the day back then.

“The fee structure was defined by the government of Andhra Pradesh. We didn’t define the fees that was in 2016, long back. That again was a government decision, not our decision. The government is the one which fixes the fees, not the private medical colleges,” he asserted.

The students contend that tuition fee was raised by more than 100 per cent, compelling them to approach the court.

“As long as the court comes in between nothing can happen. Anybody can go to court, first they (students) have gone to the court, now the managements have gone to court, again they go to court, again the managements go to the court. This keeps on moving, going on like this. That’s what is exactly happening,” said the principal.

He disagreed with the students being idle and not getting certificates. Murthy said he gave many provisional certificates already.

“Nobody has come to me with that complaint. I have given several provisional pass certificates and people will take that (in interviews, higher education) and if the interviewer is going ask them to show the certificates, I will arrange for showing the certificates. That’s what the court says,” he said.

Instead of giving actual provisional certificates, the colleges are handing endorsed photocopies of provisional certificates, which according to the students have little value in the real world.

Meanwhile, Murthy revealed about an unprecedented arrangement which has already been availed by 2-3 students in his college located near Vijayawada, wherein he will send an emissary bearing the original certificates to the venue of the interview where a student is undergoing an interview to prove that he really studied and cleared the course.

On showcasing the certificates to the interviewers, the emissary will again take them back to the college carefully, without handing them over to the student or the interviewer.

He also disagreed with the Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences registrar K. Sankar’s statement that the court has directed private colleges to give certificates in lieu of an affidavit from students on the balance unpaid fees, which the court will decide.

As many as 271 medical, dental, ayurveda, homeopathy and other colleges are affiliated to Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences located in Vijayawada, including Pinnamaneni Siddhartha.

“Court didn’t say that. Court never said take and affidavit. No, if you want I will send you the court documents,” Murthy asserted.

However, he categorically said that the colleges are waiting for the court to take a call as the matter is sub-judice.

“If they (students) want the certificates, they should go to the court and hasten the procedure. Yeah, that is what they have to do,” he observed.

One of Murthy’s own students said the private college managements lobby is extremely powerful, which they are unable to face.

Echoing Murthy, Pinnamaneni Siddhartha college’s academic director Rajagopal also said it was the students who went to the court and they know everything.

“I think there is nothing to talk with the college students know everything Students have gone to the court,” he said.

Similarly, Rajamundry-based GSL Medical college principal V.S. Gurunadh also said there is nothing more to add on the certificates issue as everything is in the public domain.

Refuting the students’ allegations of many colleges not even paying stipend to students and slashing the salary of senior residents from Rs 90,000 to Rs 65,000, Murthy said he pays stipend and did not hire any faculty till now.

Sankar has already admitted that the university is in a helpless position as the colleges are brazenly disobeying orders.

He even conceded that the varsity or the government cannot disaffiliate the colleges as that will lead a new set of practical problems.

(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at thambalasharon@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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