More than 600 engineering colleges in the State are unviable, and have to shut down if they want to operate with this year’s intake and the fee generated from them while fulfilling the norms of AICTE with regard to faculty and laboratories.

As per the economics of a normal engineering college’s operation at least 320 seats have to be filled among the minimum sanctioned strength of 420 seats. But statistics reveal that 615 colleges got less than 300 students this year. In 338 colleges the strength is between 201 and 300, in 75 colleges it’s between 151 and 200, in 89 colleges it’s between 101 and150, in 70 colleges its between 51 and 100, in 25 colleges its between 21 and 50, in 11 colleges its between 11 and 20 and in seven colleges the strength is below 10 students. Only 77 colleges have 300 or more admissions.

Mr. Krishna Reddy, president of Rural Engineering Colleges Association says that an average fee of Rs. 48,000 is viable to run the colleges for old institutes as they don’t have to spend on establishment of labs and infrastructure. For new colleges the expenditure is obviously more. But given the poor response this year even for management seats majority old colleges are not able to touch the Rs. 48,000 figure. One can imagine the condition of new colleges and those with less than 200 intake.

“Such colleges operate with no qualified staff or under-qualified staff. It means the students are at loss,” correspondent of a college says. In fact, in more than 400 colleges there is no qualified staff and the faculty consists of fresh B.Tech graduates who are not able to get jobs in the industry. Lot of these faculty members are acquired from Northern states where opportunities are lesser than Southern states.

Quality of the college also depends on the management. The better managements with lesser commercial outlook acquire experienced faculty at the highest level paying huge sums to guide the youngster at least. “It depends on how you want to run the college. There are some old colleges also that don’t employ senior faculty and pay peanuts to the freshers,” Mr. Reddy says. As per the VIth Pay Commission recommendations, a Principal is paid Rs. 1.2 lakhs, a Professor gets Rs. 98,000, an Associate Professor gets Rs. 77,000 and an Assistant Professor is paid Rs. 50,000. But at the Associate and Assistant Professor level only 50 per cent of that is paid.