Mumbai: Mira Road college accused of forcing students to withdraw complaints to FRA; authorities deny allegations

Management studies students of NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research in Mira Road have alleged that they are being forced by the institute authority to withdraw their complaint to the Fee Regulatory Authority (FRA) over illegal collection of fee by the college, to be eligible to appear for placements.

“The institute has told us that only those students, who have paid their full fees, will be allowed to sit for placements that are likely to start soon. Meanwhile, those of us who had filed complaints with FRA have been asked to sign an undertaking withdrawing our complaint or we will not be allowed to appear for campus placements,” said a second-year student pursuing Masters of Management Studies at the institute.

Seema Saini, chief executive officer and administrative head of NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research, said, “The allegation made by the students is completely false. We haven’t contacted the students who filed complaints with FRA.” She, however, refused to comment on the fees structure.

FRA had approved an annual fee of ₹1.87 lakh for the academic year 2019-20. Several students from the 2019-20 batch had earlier written to FRA complaining that the institute was charging almost ₹2.3 lakh over and above what was approved by the regulatory body. Based on the complaint, FRA, which regulates fees for all professional courses offered by colleges in Maharashtra, had sought a response from the college.

To this, the college responded to FRA by seeking a review of the approved fees retrospectively. In a relief to the students, FRA last week held that colleges cannot review their fees with retrospective effect.

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the incomes of families of students, while the matter is being heard by FRA, some students haven’t paid their full fees. They alleged that the college was pressuring them into paying full fees and withdrawing their complaints. “We are being intimated that there will be consequences if we do not take our complaints back,” said another student.

“Saini laid emphasis on the excellent infrastructure, best placement record and many other welfare measures undertaken by the institute. In our view, the point raised is not germane to the issue on hand… the institute, shall within a week, make a written submission in the matter of complaint lodged by the students,” FRA noted according to the minutes of a meeting held on November 12.

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