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Pradeep Pattanayak

With vice-chancellors of universities being either mired in controversies or on leave for months together, the higher education in the state seems to have gone haywire. 

The university which tops the list is Jyoti Vihar. The Sambalpur University’s vice chancellor Sanjiv Mittal has long been on leave after being thick in the controversy. As a result, the university has been running without its guardian. 

The second case that comes is Ramadevi Women’s University, the only university meant for girls. This university’s vice-chancellor Aparajita Choudhary has been on a foreign tour for over a month now. Her absence has largely affected the day-to-day activities of the varsity.

The worst sufferers are the guest faculties. Due to the absence of the vice-chancellor, their two months’ salaries have been held up. Though these guest lecturers are a dejected lot, they hesitate to speak out before cameras fearing job loss. 

Another university being in the same boat is Berhampur University. Recently, two lecturers of the varsity were accused of misbehaving with girl students. 

Similarly, a lecturer at Jayadev College was accused of sexually torturing a girl student. 

At the same time, the Ruchika Mohanty suicide incident has tarnished the image of BJB College. The institution has earned notoriety for ragging, which is said to be the reason behind Ruchika’s suicide. 

Such a deplorable situation prevailing in universities and colleges has left students and parents a worried lot. 

“Due to several reasons, we are not getting the research facilities we should have received in universities,” alleged Anshuman Sahu, a student. 

Expressing his concern, Utkal Parents’ Association president Krushnachandra Pati said, “The prevailing situation in universities and colleges is only pushing the future of the students towards the vortex of uncertainty. And for this, the

Higher Education Minister is to take the blame.”

Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) are also facing the same situation. 

While students of BPUT have been resorting to strike all year round, levelling corruption charges against their vice-chancellor Chittaranjan Tripathy. Similarly, OUAT has been running without a vice-chancellor for three months now. 
Investigation reveals that after the retirement of the vice-chancellor, no new vice chairman has been appointed, resulting in developmental works being cold storage. 

“It is unfortunate that guest faculties are managing the show all throughout the state. The Higher Education Minister should have rounds of discussions with teachers to find a way out,” observed educationist Amiya Mohanty. 

In his reaction, Berhampur University’s former vice-chancellor Dr Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “It's time the government and Chancellor took a decisive step. If a university has a temporary VC, it can’t have the benefits that a varsity with a permanent VC does have.”

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