The Maharashtra government, in order to facilitate a waiver of Rs 13.58 crore towards land charges of an engineering college recently changed its own rules for this.
Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management (SRCEM) in Nagpur had proposed to start a self-financed university on its 16.85-acre campus at Zingabai Takli in Nagpur. The change of use/purpose of land earmarked for educational institutions attracts a levy of 10 percent of the land’s market price.
The law and judiciary department objected to the proposal, saying it was contrary to the cabinet’s own decision taken in 2019. However, the cabinet, while giving its nod to the waiver, stated, “Since there is no transfer of the land to any other user, there is no need for the charges.”
According to an official from the higher and technical education department, “Even if it is not a transfer, the aided college is being converted into a self-financed university with barely any regulation from the government.” The official added that since the university was free to set its own fees, it ought not to profiteer on government land.
The secretary of Shri Ramdeobaba Sarvajanik Samiti claimed that the charges levied were due to “a technical error”, by considering it a land transfer. “We have neither changed the purpose nor have we transferred the land to any other institution,” he said. “This has been certified by the district collector as well. Ours is a non-profit organisation, which has a five percent quota for poor students who get education free of charge. It will continue to be that way even after it is upgraded to a self-financed university.”