Cops stop Mohan Babu’s rally demanding AP govt keeps its fee reimbursement promise

Actor and Sri Vidyaniketan institutions founder Mohan Babu has accused the Naidu government of stalling the payment of over Rs 18 crore as fee reimbursement to the colleges.
Cops stop Mohan Babu’s rally demanding AP govt keeps its fee reimbursement promise
Cops stop Mohan Babu’s rally demanding AP govt keeps its fee reimbursement promise
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Actor and founder of the Sri Vidyaniketan Educational Institutions Mohan Babu’s attempt to hold a peaceful rally protesting non-payment of fee reimbursement amount by the Andhra Pradesh government for a section of the students was foiled on Friday. Mohan Babu and hundreds of other students had gathered at the Sri Vidyanikethan Engineering College in Tirupati, but had to break up after police gathered Mohan Babu’s house and the educational institution, preventing the protesters from leaving the premises.

In the aftermath of the rally being foiled, reports also emerged that the police have put Mohan Babu under house arrest. However, Tirupati Rural police clarified to TNM that there have been no attempts to make arrests, and the force was deployed only to bring the crowd under control.

An official from the Chandragiri police station told TNM that the actor had sought permission to hold the rally, which the police had then denied due to the Model Code of Conduct being in place. “The assembly was unlawful and the police rushed only to prevent the crowd from entering the streets of Rangampeta,” the official said.

Sri Vidyanikethan institutions have been providing free education to 25% of its students from the past 26 years, according to Mohan Babu. In a press meet held on March 3, the actor accused the Naidu government of lacklustre implementation of the fee reimbursement scheme and said that their colleges were suffering due to the non-payment of the reimbursement amount.

Addressing the media, Mohan Babu had said that over Rs 2 crore was pending from the academic year 2017-18 and around Rs 16 crore, for the current academic year. "During the academic years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, the state government failed to clear the fees reimbursement dues fully. But they only offered a meagre amount and were treating us like beggars,” Mohan Babu had said.

The actor also said due to lack of funds, the institution has also been unable to pay salaries to the college staff, and has had to mortgage some of its assets to get loans from banks to continue operations. Mohan Babu added that when the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government was in power, the college used to receive the fee amount on time. However, the situation has not been the same once the TDP government came into power.

To protest this, Mohan Babu, his sons Vishnu Manchu and Manchu Manoj, along with the college staff and students had planned to take out a protest rally on Friday morning demanding complete reimbursement of the fee amount.

After the unsuccessful protest, Mohan Babu took to Twitter to express his anguish over the police refusal to hold the protest rally.

“Why is the government not paying the students fee? And the rally is for the students. I don’t gain anything from it. 19 crore has been pending and for what? Why isn’t the government honouring their commitment,” the actor wrote on his Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, his son and actor Vishnu Manchu also took to the micro-blogging site, taking a jibe at other college owners who aren’t protesting against the government’s failure to pay up the reimbursement amount.

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