Six students of Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI) are on an indefinite hunger strike demanding that the authorities roll back the hike in fees. SRFTI Students' Union chief Nairita told PTI they want roll back of the decision to hike fees by 10 per cent annually as it is pinching the students, many of whom come from middle class and downtrodden background.
She said the total consolidated fee of Rs 70,000, that was charged three-four years back during admission to the premier film institute, have been hiked to Rs 1.4 lakh.
"Six of our friends are on fast since Tuesday and we will not budge till they listen to our demands," Nairita said.
SRFTI director Debamitra Mitra said, while the students have to pay Rs 6,250 as monthly tuition fee and Rs 3,276 as hostel fee, each of them gets Rs 13 lakh for making a 30-minute diploma film and Rs 5-6 lakh for a 10-minute short film. She said the total consolidated amount, which the agitating students are quoting, consists of security deposit paid by them during admission and is refundable at the end of the semester.
"We had assured the students that there will be no further fee hike during admission in 2020 and we will review the fee structure in 2021, but they say we have to give assurance that there should be roll back of the present fee structure. That is not possible," Mitra said.
"Please note we and FTII, Pune are two premier film institutes and students have to sit for entrance test to get admission here," she added.
Mitra said the students are availing best infrastructure, latest state-of-the-art equipment like most modern camera and lens, mentoring and group teaching by well-known names in film and TV industry and "their education is already heavily subsidised by the Centre".
The SRFTI, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, offers several scholarships to students and spends Rs 3 crore for every batch in total, she added. Mitra said, "Only a small section of the students are agitating and not the majority who don't want disruption in academic atmosphere".