Barely four days before the deadline for submission of filled-in forms at Anna University, M. Tamilselvan and his six friends, all of whom passed their class XII exams this year, have set up camp outside Mylapore Taluk office.

“We have been coming here every day for the last twenty days. Each time, they come up with a different excuse to not give us our nativity certificates,” said Tamilselvan.

The seven are among the many engineering aspirants in the city who are finding it difficult to procure nativity certificates. This year, those eligible for the fee exemption given to first-generation college aspirants will have to compulsorily submit these certificates along with their forms. A nativity certificate proves that the student has been a resident of the State for more than five years. Every year, at least 70 per cent of the students who apply for engineering courses at the university are the first in their family to do so.

“Sometimes, they say the clerks haven’t come; on other occasions, they ask us to wait for the revenue officer. Last year, the university did not insist on aspirants enclosing the nativity certificate with the form. We thought it would be the same this year. By the time we found out it was mandatory, it was quite late,” said K. Anbarasan, who lives in K.K. Nagar. He too has been waiting for the certificate for almost two weeks.

An official at a taluk office cited the staff crunch in offices as reason for the delay. “Many of my colleagues have gone to other districts for Amma Thittam camps,” he said. Work as part of the scheme, which involves immediate issue of residential certificates, legal heirship certificates, migration certificates, income certificates, pension, change of patta and inclusion or exclusion of names in ration cards, has picked up pace recently. This has led to a delay in processing students’ certificates, he added.

Touts are having a field day, given the circumstances. “Some agents offered to get us the certificates for Rs. 800. Some of my friends who paid the money got their certificates faster. Most of us can’t afford such amounts,” said another student R. Annamalai, in Mylapore.

Anna University officials said that students were notified about the mandatory certificates as early as the first week of April. “Since first-generation aspirants apply from other States as well, we insisted students from Tamil Nadu too produce nativity certificates,” said an official.

This was to ensure the deserving students avail the grants offered by the State government.

He said students could write to university officials, and submit the required certificates later. “We are always willing to consider a genuine case,” he added.

However, the postponement of the last date for submission of forms is not possible, clarified Anna University Vice-Chancellor P. Kaliraj, as the counselling procedures had been advanced keeping in mind the Supreme court order and AICTE mandate to start classes by August 1.

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