The Opposition walked out of the Assembly on Tuesday alleging that the government was giving all opportunities to private professional college managements to mint money in their business at the expense of the student community.

Former Education Minister M.A. Baby levelled the charge against the Oommen Chandy government while giving notice to an adjournment motion to discuss the significance of the agreement the government had signed with the private medical colleges this year. The walkout came when the Speaker, after the Chief Minister’s reply, denied permission to suspend the transactions listed for the day’s sitting of the House for taking up the topic for discussion.

“You are permitting them to take millions of rupees as bribe [for admissions],” Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said, announcing the walkout.

Government stance

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, countering the allegation, said his government had, in fact, ended the confusion that had been prevailing in professional college admissions by getting the Christian medical college managements to sign an agreement.

He said, under the agreement, each college management would set apart Rs.40 lakh to subsidise the fee of students from the below the poverty line section. And the fee of all students from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes would be borne by the government.

The Chief Minister defended the clause in the agreement setting apart 15 per cent of the seats as ‘privilege seats’ of the management by pointing out that even the government-aided private engineering colleges (where salary payment was the government’s responsibility) were enjoying the privilege of a management quota coming to 15 per cent of the total seats.

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said the professional college admissions used to take place in an atmosphere of confusion in the previous years, but this year the government had been able to sort out issues with private medical college managements. Only two college managements were sulking on the sidelines, but they too would fall in line, he said.

Baby’s charges

Earlier, seeking permission to move the adjournment motion, Mr. Baby said the net result of the allocation of privileged seats to the managements was that 173 students coming under the merit list and reservation list in the entrance examinations would lose the opportunity to gain admission to the medical colleges. In the engineering stream, the number of such students would come to 3,408, he said, citing information gathered by him by applying under the Right to Information Act.

Mr. Baby said the change in admission formula and the increase in fee made this year would bring to the private engineering colleges an additional sum of Rs.22 crore.

Keywords: Kerala politics

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