Himachal students protest cut in government grants

November 6th, 2008 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 6 (IANS) Over 2,000 students and their parents took part in a rally here Thursday as part of the “save education” campaign launched by those studying at four colleges in Himachal Pradesh to protest a cut in government grants.Students of the country’s oldest all-woman college, the prestigious St. Bede’s, the DAV colleges at Kangra and Kotkhai and Maharaja Lakshmi Sen Memorial College at Sundernagar participated in the rally to protest the decision of the state government to cut grant-in-aid.

With a change in government rules in March this year, grant-in-aid to private colleges, including St. Bede’s, was reduced from 95 percent to 50 percent.

Earlier, these four colleges were the only ones getting the grants. Now it is being distributed among 20 colleges.

The students have also launched a signature campaign, requesting Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Governor Prabha Rau to restore the grant-in-aid to 95 percent.

“We are facing a severe financial crisis and we are not in a position to run the college too much longer,” St. Bede’s principal Molly Abraham told IANS.

The college, started in 1904, boasts of alumni like actress Preity Zinta, late model and beauty queen Persis Khambatta and Himachal Pradesh’s first woman police officer Satwant Atwal.

“We are bound by a 2006 high court ruling which directs us to disburse the grants among all private colleges on an equal basis. Earlier, only four colleges were getting the grants. Now the funds are distributed among 20 colleges,” state education secretary P.C. Dhiman said.

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