TIRUPATI: The Srikalahasteeswara Institute of Technology (SKIT) in Srikalahasti, the only institute in Andhra Pradesh providing technical education under the State Endowments department, would shut its doors permanently on August 15.
The institute came into existence during 1997-98 under the management of the Srikalahasteeswara Swamy Vari Devasthanams. The institute faced tough times in recent years as its income hit rock bottom following a steady fall in quality of teaching and resultant drop in admissions. The salaries, maintenance and other expenditures turned the institute a white elephant for the Devasthanams.
Affiliated to JNTU Anantapur and recognized by AICTE, SKIT emerged as a major technical institute in the Rayalaseema region. It was being run under the chairmanship of the endowments commissioner and the Devasthanams’ executive officer.
The institute was set up to provide education to rural students on a “no profit, no loss basis”. It earned a reputation in the united AP right from its inception.
“It was the only technical institute in Rayalaseema at that time, providing mechanical engineering courses. Then, it fell on bad days following competition from private colleges. By 2017-18, students majorly stopped getting attracted to the institute. Many seats lay vacant and this aggravated its financial crisis,” noted an assistant professor.
The institute offered programs including B.Tech (five branches), M.Tech (two branches) and Diploma (four branches). Thousands of poor/rural students, particularly from the Rayalaseema region, did their technical education courses in this institute. At present, the institute has only 27 students even as there are about 100 staff members.
“With the huge drop in admissions, the institute's revenue has depleted in the past five years. The Devasthanams spent Rs12 crore from its kitty to pay salaries and do the maintenance. Following the government's direction, we are shutting it down and would transfer the students to other institutes. Arrears will be paid to the teaching and non-teaching staff as directed by the JNTU”, a temple official said.
The institute has properties worth hundreds of crores. It is located on a 55-acre campus along the Puthalapattu-Naidupeta highway on the outskirts of Srikalahasti town, where an acre costs around Rs10 crore.
SKIT also has infrastructure, well-equipped laboratories and a library, and yet the management is reluctant to revive the lost glory of the institute and apparently has other plans to make use of the land in some commercially beneficial manner.
YSRC, TD in blame game over closure of SKIT
The ruling and Opposition parties, the YSR Congress and Telugu Desam, are engaged in a blame game over the closure of the Srikalahasteeswara Institute of Technology (SKIT), Srikalahasti.
The institute is closing its campus on August 15. TD leaders, including the Srikalahasti party in-charge Bojjala Sudhir Reddy, lashed out at the YSRC government, alleging that it has failed to save the institute from closure and showed reluctance to restore its lost glory.
YSRC leaders are projecting former minister and TD leader Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy as the villain of the piece. They say the former minister had misused the institute for his personal gains and appointed several people from his close circles as the teaching and non-teaching staff there.
Over 31 teaching staff, 35 non-teaching staff, nine security guards on contractual basis, as also 12 sweepers and 26 employees were appointed during the TD term. YSRC leaders are also saying Gopalakrishna Reddy had misused the college for his political activities and appointed his associates as committee members. Due to this political influence worked against the college’s interests and students showed a reluctance to join the college.
TD leaders ask as to why the YSRC government showed a reluctance in redeveloping the college. Though SKIT has valuable properties and infrastructure, the management is reluctant to revive the institute and worked in ways as to close down the institution. TD activists led by Sudheer Reddy have staged several protests against the closure.