Hyderabad, Aug 9 (IANS) Opposition parties and students' groups in Andhra Pradesh Thursday intensified their protest against the government's move to cap the reimbursement of tuition fee of engineering and other professional courses at Rs.31,0000 per annum.
Protesters tried to lay siege to the ministers' quarters and Raj Bhavan, the official residence of state governor, in Hyderabad while some legislators of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) staged a sit-in in front of the chief minister's office in the state secretariat.
Police used mild force to chase away students who tried to barge into Raj Bhavan. Several students belonging to nine groups were arrested when they tried to lay siege to ministers' quarters in Jubliee Hills.
With a section of leaders within the ruling Congress also opposing the government's decision, the cabinet sub-committee on fee reimbursement is likely to reconsider the same.
The panel, which was scheduled to meet Thursday, postponed its meeting by a day as the government has sought legal opinion on the issue.
The sub-committee had Tuesday imposed the cap on fee reimbursement. It means the Backward Class (BC) and Economically Backward Class (EBC) students bear the extra burden under the uniform fee structure for engineering and other professional courses.
At least two ministers and some Congress leaders have publicly criticised the decision and warned that the Backward Classes would distance themselves from the ruling party.
A group of students stopped the convoy of assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar at Bobbili in Vijayanagaram district demanding that the government continue the fee reimbursement scheme without any changes.
Under the scheme introduced by then chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the government was paying the entire fee of BC and EBC students.
YSR Congress Party also staged protests at various places, demanding the government to revoke its decision.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the government is playing with the future of 25 lakh students. He served an ultimatum on the government to make an announcement on continuing the fee reimbursement scheme by Friday, threatening to launch an agitation along with students from Saturday.
The government imposed the cap after the Supreme Court directive to implement uniform fee structure in engineering and other professional colleges.
With no resources to foot the additional burden of Rs.600 crore to Rs.1,000 crore due to implementation of uniform fee structure, the government imposed the cap.
The government had provided Rs.3,800 crore in the 2012-13 budget towards post-matric scholarship and free reimbursement for weaker sections students.