Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, announced the Opposition's resolve to block the functioning of the two colleges despite the Education Minister, Nalakath Soopy, trying to pacify the Opposition and the Speaker, Vakkom Purushothaman, with the offer to defer MBBS counselling and a legislation to put the self-financing college managements under its thumb.
Mr. Soopy said the two options before the Government now were either to ask the colleges to run the courses according to the UGC guidelines under which 85 per cent seats should be in the merit quota or to go in for a legislation to ensure that the Government's will prevailed in the matter of admissions and realisation of fees.
The Education Minister, who was speaking against an adjournment motion sought to be moved by Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (CPI-M) and others, said the Government had, in any case, decided to bring forward the legislation governing admissions and fees in private self-financing professional colleges during the current session of the Assembly.
The proposal was to include appropriate provisions in the Unified Universities Act as a separate chapter. This decision could be reviewed and a separate legislation brought forward, he said.
However, the Opposition lashed out at the Minister accusing him of dilly-dallying on the issue and Mr. Balakrishnan pointed out that "if the proposed legislation was not put in place before July 11, each of the private self-financing professional colleges would be able to pocket Rs. 7.5 crores from the students. The Minister was playing hide and seek on the issue only to help the managements," he alleged.
The Speaker, Vakkom Purushothaman, also came down heavily on the Pushpagiri and Kolenchery medical college managements and said those who were not prepared to abide by the Government's directives should not be allowed to run the colleges.
Referring to the refusal of the Pushpagiri management to attend the meeting convened by the Education Minister here on Monday to thrash out the issue, he said: "Institutions that refuse to attend conferences convened by the Government should not be allowed to run colleges. You should see if there are provisions to jail them,'' he said amidst thumping of desks by the Opposition members.
The Education Minister conceded that the Pushpagiri management had not turned up at the meeting held on Monday. He said the managements that attended the conference had been told about the UGC guidelines.
While the Karakkonam medical college management had agreed to go by the Government directives, the Kolenchery college management had, in general, offered to cooperate with the Government, he said.
Walkout plan dropped
The Opposition was unsparing in its criticism of the Government, but it also showed that it could be counted upon to behave in a dignified manner when there was sufficient justification for doing so.
The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, announced the Opposition's decision not to walk out over the issue heeding the Speaker's plea to that effect.
The Speaker had earlier told him that if the Government did not keep its word to rein in the managements, he would take the initiative to have the issue discussed in the House.
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