New Delhi: The Andhra Pradesh government has been asked by the Supreme Court to pay around Rs 3,500 crore as reimbursement to private engineering colleges. The court directed the state government to make the payments by June 15, 2011.

A Bench of Justice R V Raveendran and Justice A K Patnaik asked the state government to pay the amount in 3 installments.

It asked the government to pay the first installment by the end of March, second by May-end and the last by June 15.

The state government had filed an appeal in the apex court challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court which had asked it to pay the students' full fee at the stage of admission itself. To this, SC directed the state government to reimburse the fees by June 15 of this year.

The state government is entitled with the responsibility to pay the fees for the poor students whose parental income is less than Rs 1 lakh per year.

The colleges have complained that the government is not paying the fee for SC, ST, BC and EBC students at the beginning of academic year. They said the government had promised to reimburse later and they are finding it difficult to run the institutions at the expected standards.

Advocates Bina Madhavan and Krishna Kumar Singh, counsel for Consortium of Engineering College Managements, contended the state had not reimbursed the colleges for
2008-09 and 2009-10, which amounted to around Rs. 4,037 crore and the government had so far paid only Rs. 300 crore.

They opposed the plea of Andhra Pradesh government for granting time till September 2011 for payment of the reimbursement, contending that the new academic session will commence by July and it would cause additional burden on the faculty.

Further, much delay on the disbursal of amount would have adverse affect as it would be difficult to pay the salary of faculty members who may not take classes due to non-payment of salary.

Acting on the appeal, the Supreme Court had in December 2010 made an interim order that the state should pay 25 per cent of the fee within first four weeks of admission of students, another 25 per cent within 8 weeks thereafter.

Further, the state should undertake the verification of the certificates and within four months thereafter, it should pay the remaining 50 per cent of the fee.

(With agency inputs)