The death of three students of naturopathy at the SVS Medical College of Yoga and Naturopathy and Research Institute in Bangaram in Villupuram district has invited sharp criticism over how the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University was doling out affiliations.
After criticism surfaced against MGR University for providing affiliation to a college that did not even have basic facilities, MGR University claims that during inspections the college had fulfilled all the requirements as stated by the government till June 2015.
Talking to reporters at the university, Dr. P Arumugam , Registrar at MGR University said, “In all the inspections conducted till June 2015 by the university, SVS College of Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences had complied with all the requirements including equipment, infrastructure, documents and even evidences related to the purchase of books and equipment.”
The inspection by the MGR University is conducted in all colleges every three to six months. MGR University had been providing provisional affiliation to a course - Bachelors in Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences in SVS College of Naturopathy and Yoga Sciences from 2008. In July 2015, the course affiliation had been withheld after repeated complaints from students.
By September 2015, repeated protests had begun against the college owner Vasuki Subramaniam for verbal abuse and charging exorbitant fees from the students. Some students had also tried self-immolation. But no action was taken against the college.
Dr. Arumugam states that after complaints from students started pouring in, the University constituted a body to conduct a surprise inspection in the college. “We collected all the complaints and made a team comprising of specialized people. The surprise inspection was planned to be conducted on November 30, 2015 but due to floods it was postponed to December 30, 2015,” he said.
In December 2015, the University found that the college was not fulfilling any requirements as stated by the state government. The university had also received a letter from Tehsildar in Villupuram regarding the issues in the college.
Asked if the university knew about the exorbitant fees collected by the college and why it did not take any action against it, “We had received complaints from students and parents stating that the college was over-charging students. But they did not have any proof or evidence against the college so how can we take an action against them regarding this?”
He also said that in the past two to three months only everything has started erupting. We could not take any action because the students cannot be shifted to different colleges immediately.
Referring to the students who discontinued studies in the college due to harassment, he said, “Those students have to prove the claims they are making against the college then only we will be able to help them.”
Talking about the further actions to be taken against the college, Dr. Arumugam said that the registered students will be relocated to other colleges. “We will deciding if we will disaffiliate the college or whether they will be given time to rectify their deficiency and come back to normal. All these things we have to decide sitting with the government as a law and order problem has erupted,” he said.