Himansu Shekhar Rout

In a bid to attract a large number of students to the new campus of Odia University at Satyabadi of Puri hours before its inauguration by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the principal of a college allegedly offered students snacks packets of Rs 150 each and Biryani packets of Rs 350 each to attend the event. 

The incident came to the fore after a purported WhatsApp message from the principal of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Smruti Mahavidyalay at Sakhigopal went viral on Wednesday.  

In the message written in Odia, the college principal asked the students to reach the college campus by 9 am. From there, they will be shifted in a bus to Panchasakha Padia where they will get Rs 150-snacks packets. The message also mentioned that the state government has made provision of Rs 350-biriyani packets along with water bottles at 1.30 PM. 

Moreover, the students were lured with an assurance that their practical and internal scores would be hiked in case of poor marks. He also made it clear that students are required to meet the lecturers concerned to get a hike in their scores.

Even the students were threatened indirectly. All were told to compulsorily reach the college campus by 10 AM on January 24, or else they should not hold the college authorities responsible in case of any problems later.    

Satyashibasundar Mishra, principal of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Smruti Mahavidyalay, Sakhigopal, came out with a clarification over the phone. He said, "I have neither written the message nor sent it. This is my official number. I have a personal number. A letter to this effect has been in the office. How can I know who is doing what through this number? A large number of students went there and helped a lot. I fail to understand how this could happen through this number. There might be many people of different natures and people’s representatives at Satyabadi and they might have done something with the number.”

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