Another private medical college in Uttarakhand hikes fee by 300%

Amid controversy over a bill cleared by Uttarakhand assembly giving free hand to the private medical colleges and universities on the fee structure for undergraduate and post-graduate courses, another college has decided to hike the fee for the MD (doctor of medicine) courses by more than 300 per cent.

The move by Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences comes days after Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical & Health Sciences, also a private medical institute, decided to hike the fee by upto 300 per cent.

As students and parents took to the streets, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced that his government will not let “Guru Ram Rai Institute charge tuition fee as per their wish”. “I made a mistake. If required we will make amendment in the act (that gives right to the private universities) on fee hike,” the chief minister had then told a news channel.

After CM’s intervention, the Guru Ram Rai Institute management had rolled back the decision.

Now, the students enrolled in MD courses in a written complaint to the Himalayan’s principal have accused the college of violating the norms.

“The state government’s fee fixation committee had decided Rs 7, 38,835 as the fee for the MD courses. The fee is subject to final outcome of various writ petitions. As the matter is sub-judice, the college should charge fee fixed by the committee formed by the state government. Instead, the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences is demanding fee, which has been set by their own committee, which is totally against the law and clear violation of guidelines,” said a student in his complaint who wished to remain anonymous.

A copy of the letter is with Hindustan Times. Some of the students have also approached the secretary (higher education) seeking his intervention.

The college is asking for Rs 30 lakh in fee from the students of courses such as MD (orthopaedics) and MS (radio diagnosis).

Vijay Dhasmana, vice chancellor, Swami Rama Himalayan University, justified the hike in the fee and blamed state government for creating ambiguity on the issue.

“We are a deemed university and authorized as per rules to decide on tuition fee. Tell me which university is offering MD or MS course for Rs 7 lakh as prescribed by the state,” Dhasmana asked.

In fact, after facing backlash, the state government’s fee committee met last week and recommended higher slabs of tuition fee for the students enrolled in MD courses from the new session. The committee will again meet next week.

Additional chief secretary Ranbir Singh, heading the fee committee, did not respond to the repeated phone calls and text message till the time of filing this story.

Earlier, the Guru Ram Rai Institute had hiked the MBBS tuition fee from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 19.76 lakh for the first year. For PG courses, including MD in general medicine, it had decided to charge Rs 26.6 lakh in the first year, up from Rs 7.38 lakh that it was charging earlier.

Rawat had then justified the hike saying that the government does not provide any monetary help in setting up a private medical college, which often requires capital to the tune of Rs 700 crore. He said that the state needs investment and tha is why his government “allowed the private medical institutes to decide their fee”.

The opposition Congress blamed the government for not sharing details of the bill that was passed amid ruckus and adjournments during the budget session