Mumbai,Kanchan Srivastava: Two ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government- one from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the other from the Shiv Sena- are currently embroiled in a tiff over jurisdiction. And it isn’t the first time that Sena and BJP are at loggerheads either.
This time round, Sena MLA and minister of state for higher and technical education Ravindra Waikar and BJP’s cabinet minister for education Vinod Tawde locked horns over a recent government resolution (GR) which, Waikar alleged, was issued without considering his views.
The controversial GR, issued on April 29, disallowed institutes from starting new courses, divisions or even new colleges in the upcoming academic year. This major decision, taken just ahead of the new academic session, irked Waiker so much that he voiced his views against Tawde in front of the media.
Speaking to Zee Media on Thursday, a furious Waikar alleged, “The higher education department put up the matter in the cabinet and then went ahead and issued the GR without consulting me on the matter. No file pertaining to the issue came to me. Without seeking my view, how can the minister take any decision? This is in violation of rules.”
The GR cited vacancies of over 25% seats across colleges in the previous year as one of the reasons for the decision. Waikar himself had told the legislative assembly in April that 120 colleges in the state have only 2 to 10 students. “The issue of vacant seats is valid but we can’t restrict expansion of good colleges, which are much in demand owing to their good infrastructure and teaching,” said Waikar.
Several colleges had already set up infrastructure in anticipation of approval from the government. Mumbai University alone had sent around 150 proposals for new divisions and colleges. Nearly 30 of these proposals were for law colleges.
Some of these colleges now plan to move court against the GR. Waikar complained, “I would be made accountable for being in the government, even though I am not party to the decision.”
Waikar added that the GR was faulty and he would speak to Tawde and Fadnavis about it.
Interestingly, Waikar had earlier announced the establishment of four colleges- for engineering, management, pharmacy and hotel management respectively- in the premises of state-run Ismail Yusuf College in Jogeshwari, which comes under his constituency. His announcement had led to dissent among a section of the Muslim community, which threatened to occupy the College, claiming that the land of the college was meant for Muslim welfare.
According to a highly placed source, Waikar has given an earful to the department officials who dealt with the matter. “Dr Sanjay Chahande, the higher education secretary faced most of the ire,” said the source.
While Dr Chahande reportedly didn’t utter a word, Waikar got the hint that it was Tawde who deliberately bypassed him. Waikar had, earlier in the day, held a meeting of representatives of Universities and colleges from across Maharashtra to discuss their perspective plans.
Many college representatives expressed their dissent over the blanket ban, claiming that the decision might be meant to curb proliferation of poor quality colleges in Maharashtra, but would also affect the expansion plans of good colleges. When contacted Dr Chahande said, “I am in Delhi and unaware about the matter.” Tawde did not respond to dna’s queries.