Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla, Feb 14

The working of the HP Private educational institutions regulatory commission- HPPERC seems spurious. This allegation has come to light through a letter written by Sachin Thakur to the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on February 13, this year. 

Thakur is from the Chamba district and has worked for student welfare for many years.

In the e-mail to the CM he stated, “this commission was established to regulate the working of Private institutes so that the rights of students and their parents can be protected.” Adding,” But after 2020 commission is only working on the welfare of the management of private institutes, and the order passed by the commission is just a publicity stunt. No work is being done at the ground level, he alleged.

Adding, that in the tenure of past 2.5 years, HPPERC had imposed a lot of fines on the Private Universities/collage, and HPPERC’s Chairman also released a press statement on these fines against Pvt. Univ./Collage. The order to impose a huge fine was uploaded on the commission’s website. “But imposing a fine is just a publicity stunt because after imposing the fine, HPPERC silently waived off the penalty amount without informing anyone, i.e. neither the Complainant nor Media and even the order of waiving off the penalty amount is not uploaded on the commission website,” he noted in the letter to CM.

Noteworthy that the HPPERC has been penalising various private universities based on complaints by students or suo-moto. However, allegedly in this case, later, these orders were reviewed at the pleading of the penalised institutions, and the said amounts were reduced to fifty per cent.

Based on RTIs in possession with HimachalScape regarding the subject, the case of four private universities displays a lenient view taken by the regulatory commission. Namely, Indus International, Arni, IEC Baddi, and Sri Sai universities were penalised in different matters. 

It requires a mention that, based on the complaints, these matters were heard for months (Both accused and complainant), and the decision(s) was taken to penalise the institutions.

Indus International was directed to pay Rs three lacs as a penalty. Arni, two and a half lac. IEC Baddi and Sri sai universities had to pay Rs 11lac and Rs 3.5 lac as penalty amounts, as per original orders of the HPPERC. 

However, all these penalty amounts were later reduced by fifty per cent, citing losses incurred by these institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

” And Shear surprisingly, all these universities have claimed the same excuse like low student intake, overall financial condition, covid-19 pandemic and even HPPERC has passed the same order to all these universities, which indicates the collusiveness of HPPERC and Pvt. Universities,” he added in the letter. 

In a conversation Thakur demanded that the matter should be investigated. He said that even if a penalty was reviewed, it should have been done in a systematic manner, as it is a matter of Student rights.. Adding,” After-all such commissions are set-up to defend the right of students, at large.”

It is pertinent to mention that it has been over two years since the HPPERC declared Vice Chancellors of 11 of 17 universities ineligible. Directives were issued to replace the ineligible with eligible VCs. Even this directive of the HPPERC could not find the light of the day or to say a hundred per cent.


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