Opened two decades back with CM Jayalalithaa’s support

Madurai Kamaraj University College, which was opened two decades back with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s support, is facing a financial crisis.

Shrinking fixed deposits, closure of revenue-generating departments against the wishes of staff and students, increasing monthly expenses and absence of grants from the State government and University Grants Commission (UGC) are threatening the very survival of the college with 128 staff and 2,086 students.

The college was started in 1994 as a constituent college of the varsity. The Chief Minister had sanctioned initial grant of Rs.5 lakh then.

Compounding its woes is the decision to relocate a popular department to the main university campus.

The college will no longer be offering B.Sc. (Hotel Management and Catering Science) from the coming academic year since the university has started offering an integrated five-year course. The last batch of students are pursuing their final-year now.

“We made a request to Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan to reconsider the decision. In the last two years, our college did not admit students to this course, which generated a good revenue. Moreover, it was a course in huge demand. Now, our competitors in private colleges are happy,” a senior faculty member told The Hindu.

At one time, the college was admitting 48 students every year to this course, but this number came down to 16, he alleged.

This college was established when M.D.Kuthalingam was the Vice-Chancellor in 1994.

While the college had to pay salaries as per UGC pay scale to 34 teaching staff, there was no funding support. To meet the annual expenses, the college authorities were forced to close fixed deposits in banks which stand at only Rs.1.5 crore now. “The college is yet to receive the SC/ST scholarship dues reimbursement from the State government to the tune of Rs. 4 crore,” he said.

But the other university constituent colleges at Kottur, Sattur, Vedasandur, Tirumangalam and Aruppukottai had been receiving funds for buildings, infrastructure and salaries, he added.

When contacted, Principal S. Irulappan admitted that the financial crisis could be felt from the ensuing academic year. “The VC must make the institution part of the MKU so that the university will take full care. Being an ignored constituent college functioning independently, now we have to generate our own resources,” he lamented.

With only six months left for Dr.Kalyani Mathivanan to take policy decisions before her tenure ends, the staff and students are hoping that only she can save the college founded due to efforts of her father Dr.Kuthalingam.

The Vice-Chancellor said she was totally aware of the situation and a special committee appointed to find solutions. “Starting self-financing courses to augment resources is one option. It will be ensured that the college regained its premier position,” she said.

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