College run by Tope family Trust faces MNVS storm

Over 300 members of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidhyarthi Sena (MNVS)— the student wing of the MNS — on Wednesday reached MSS College of Commerce in Vashi and protested against Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope alleging the college run by a Trust controlled by the Tope family violated University Grants Commission and Mumbai University norms. With caps (Gandhi Topi) on, they staged a "Topi Lava" aandolan.

The college functions from a rented residential complex.

"We approached the University and the Governor, but no concrete action was initiated... We will intensify our protest. The next will be outside Mumbai University and the Mantralaya," said MNVS state general-secretary Gajanan Kale.

MSS College Principal Rashmi Dargad said, "We have been trying to get land from Cidco for three years now. We will ensure we get land appropriate for us and as per the UGC criteria before April. We have 95 students and have ensured we provide them with all the facilities," said Dargad.

As per UGC guidelines, any organisation seeking to set up a college must own or rent a two-acre plot in a municipal corporation zone. The college must shift to the building within five years of receiving affiliation.

MSS (Matsyodari Shikshan Sanstha) College of Commerce was granted affiliation in 2008 although it had no land. An education department official said organisations keen on setting up colleges without owning or renting land for the purpose are allowed by the state government to start the institutes provided ther is no other college within a 15-km radius. In the case of MSS College, there are at least five.

According to students, classes are conducted in two rooms on the first floor of the residential-cum-commercial Silicon Tower and that the college lacks basic facilities.

An RTI application by MNVS activist Santosh Gangurde revealed MSS Trust got government nod on July 2, 2007 to run an unaided college. In 2008-09, a University panel reported it had an area of only 7,800 sq m,had no playground or equipment like projectors and the health centre was in the process of being set up

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