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Money matters: Students caught in Telangana-Andhra crossfire

IANS 10 Aug 2014, 11:50:42 AM IST
Hyderabad: Students seeking admissions or already studying in professional colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are caught in a crossfire between the two Telugu-speaking states engaged in a bitter row over reimbursement of fees.

While the Supreme Court's direction early this week to complete admissions in engineering colleges by Aug 31 came as a relief to the students, the lack of clarity over fee reimbursement is still causing anxiety to thousands who passed Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET).

Telangana's decision to scrap the existing fee reimbursement scheme and to extend financial assistance to only those students whose parents were residents of Telangana as on Nov 1, 1956, has put many in a quandary.

The two states are locked in a bitter wrangle over many issues since bifurcation in June, but the tussle over reimbursement of fee is proving serious as it involves the future of thousands of students.

The Congress government in undivided Andhra Pradesh introduced a scheme in 2008 to reimburse the fee of students belonging to economically weaker sections. The annual burden on the state exchequer was about Rs.5,000 crore.

Describing the scheme as a 'big scam', the Telangana government scrapped it. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao said many colleges and students exist on papers to claim the money. He instead introduced a new scheme called Financial Assistance to Students of Telangana (FAST) and made it clear that the government will not pay the fee of the students of other state (read Andhra Pradesh) studying in Hyderabad or other parts of Telangana.

Under FAST, only those students will be treated as locals whose parents were residents of Telangana in 1956 when Telangana was merged with then Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh.

"We will pay fee of our children, you pay yours", is the argument of KCR, who has also rejected his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu's offer to pay 50 percent of the fee.