Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bahria students ‘burdened’ with high parking costs

The varsity is charging students Rs1,000 for parking facility, previously provided for Rs100
ISLAMABAD: Students of Bahria University Islamabad have complained of being charged “unjustifiably high” costs by the university administration for car-parking facility.
The university has started charging Rs1,000 annually from students for issuing a car-parking sticker since January 1, which was previously provided to them at an annual charge of Rs100. A large number of students said that the practice is “unjust” and “an extra burden on students”. Some students opined that “it is a coercive step by the university management to generate revenue”. The students said that the increase in price of parking permit is for students only, as faculty and staffs are being charged Rs100 and Rs50 respectively for basement parking.
However, the university management said they do have insufficient space to provide parking facility to students and the price of parking permits has been increased to discourage them from coming to university on private cars.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Bahria University Islamabad’s Director Student Affairs Sundal Mufti said that the plot serving as parking lot for university students has been purchased from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on instalments, hence, students are being charged for the facility. She said that the university is resorting to such measures of generating revenues as it is not being provided sufficient grants by the government. “An annual charge of Rs1,000 for parking is not a hefty amount,” she added.
Students said the university has over 4,000 students and only two buses. “How does the administration expect us to come to the university if not on our own cars?” one student said, wishing not to be named. They contended that if the university cannot provide parking facility to students, it should arrange for more buses.
They said no other university is charging such high costs for providing parking facility to students. Air University, opposite Bahria University, charges Rs20 from its students for parking facility, while students are not charged for parking facility in National University of Science and Technology. They cited that in Islamic International University, buses leave the campus every two hours to provide pick and drop facility to students.
“Collecting funds from students to meet university expenses is unjustified. We cannot protest against the university management as it is a matter of our career,” another student said on condition of anonymity. “The university administration should instead manage funds by cutting down unnecessary expenses,” he added.
The students recalled the university’s laptop scandal in which they made it mandatory for students in certain disciplines to buy refurbished Acer laptops in order to secure admission. Later, the condition was removed when the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) took action and directed the university to end the practice.
We were given an option to either buy the laptop on instalments or on full payment. On a four-year instalment option, the laptop would cost Rs85,000, while it was being sold to students on a full payment of Rs56,000, “which was not worth over Rs35,000 in the market,” a student of Bahria University said. “The condition was removed thanks to the CCP, but the high parking charges is another tactic of the university to plunder the students,” he added.

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