BHAIRAHAWA, Nov 12: Students of the Bhairahawa-based Universal Medical College have padlocked the college demanding that the college return the additional fees it charged the students.
On Monday, the students padlocked the college, protesting against the exorbitantly high fees charged by the college against the fees set by Tribhuvan University (TU). Last month, the government had directed the TU-affiliated medical colleges to return the additional fees they had charged the students. But the colleges have been reluctant to return the amount, according to the students.
The protesting students have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the District Administration Office (DAO), District Police Office and the college administration to return the additional fees the college has charged the students. According to a student, the office of the campus chief, deputy campus chief, and human resource and finance, have been padlocked giving a 24-hour ultimatum to return the fees. “The college will be padlocked for an indefinite period if the administration doesn't return the fees,” the student said.
Despite direction from the government to return the additional fees charged to the students, the college administration has been reluctant to do so. The students have been staging protest in front of the main entrance of the college. The students of Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), and intern doctors have been protesting against the college administration for charging additional fees against the fees thresold set by TU.
“The students have regularly requested the administration to return the fees. As the administration is reluctant to return the fees, the students had to padlock the college,” a student said, adding that the students will not open the locks unless the college administration returns the additional charges.
Meanwhile, the college administration has said it has agreed to meet the demands of the protesting students. “Of the total six demands, the administration has agreed to meet four demands. The other two demands are a national issue related to all 18 medical colleges in Nepal,” Sushil Gurung, information officer of the college said, adding that the administration had a five-hour long meeting with the protesting students.
Meanwhile on Monday, the Ministry of Education Science and Technology warned the medical colleges that it will file a fraud case if the demands of the students are not met within the next 15 days.
Earlier, the college administration had also refused to receive a memorandum from the students. The students say medical colleges are charging an additional Rs 1 million. Likewise, the medical colleges are also charging Rs 10,000 as examination fees, instead of Rs 2,500 determined by the government. The students also said that the intern doctors are getting a paycheck of Rs 9,000 each – half the amount set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) – from the college administration.
As per the rules, the medical colleges can charge Rs 1.9 million for BDS, and Rs 4.2 million for MBBS. But, the medical colleges have been charging the students an additional up to one and a half million rupees. Meanwhile, Universal College has claimed that it has charged the same fees determined by TU.
The protests by the students has also halted the annual examination of the medical colleges.