Published: 28th June 2021
NIT Rourkela students launch fee-waiver campaign citing financial constraints due to COVID
Sources said, students with a family income above Rs 5 lakh need to pay Rs 99,000 per semester, while those with family income below Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh need to pay Rs 66,000 and Rs 33,000
Students of the National Institute of Technology - Rourkela (NIT-R) have launched an online campaign demanding relief from fees citing financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged closure of the institute. They have put up a petition on the website change.org, which by Sunday evening received 1,671 signatures. Separately, the campaigners are also active on the micro-blogging platform Twitter to amplify their voices. Due to the prolonged impact of the global pandemic, they argued, families of many students are facing financial hardships and not able to pay fees for the next semester's examination.
They said certain constituents/particulars of fees including those of mess, health centre, gym facility, campus development fund, laboratory, etc, remain unutilised as the summer and autumn semesters were cut short. The institute was closed in the third week of March in 2020 and opened in March 2021 and closed again within 25 days. They have demanded that fees against internet, electricity, water, commodities and other utilities accrued for the summer and autumn semester (February-December 2020) be duly accounted for to give a proportionate relief to students.
They also want a 50 per cent cut in tuition fee in absence of physical classes, adjustment of accrued fees of previous semesters against amenities, mess, campus development fund, hostel rent, hall establishment, Student Activity Centre (SAC), and other fees to the next semester fees, besides complete removal of establishment fee, hostel fee and other similar fees for students joining in a session of 2020-2021 as they didn't use the resources. Sources said, students with a family income above Rs 5 lakh need to pay Rs 99,000 per semester, while those with family income below Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh need to pay Rs 66,000 and Rs 33,000 respectively.
Contacted, NIT-R Registrar Prof PK Das said, it has been decided in a meeting to reduce hostel fee from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2,500 and SAC fee from Rs 2,000 to Rs 500. "While the first-year students did not arrive on the campus, higher semester students in under-graduate, post-graduate, and PhD arrived on the campus after reopening and again left with closure. But they are technically in occupation of hostels and the institute needs minimum bare expenditure to sustain," he said.