Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Several students, guardians and educationists have alleged that instead of teaching and learning, colourful dance shows and politics are rampant across college campuses in the State under the Nua-O programme of the Odisha government.

As per the allegations, the Nua-O programme of the State government is ruining the academic atmosphere on campuses. Many cine celebrities and ruling party leaders are allegedly taking part in these programmes which have been underway over the last three months. Several students have expressed their resentment alleging that such programmes are hampering their studies.

Video clips of many Ollywood actors and singers dancing to the tunes of various album and item songs along with students in many colleges across the State under the Nua-O programme are going viral on various social media platforms. College authorities and ruling party leaders are often joining the shows and shaking their legs to the tune of album songs. In one such programme, Ollywood actor Babushaan Mohanty entertained the students in Rayagada. Higher Education Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak was the chief guest in that programme.

Similarly, in another Nua-O programme in Berhampur, singer Swayam Padhi and actress Pupul entertained the students with song and dance. Meanwhile, Junagarh MLA Dibya Shankar Mishra’s dance in a Nua-O programme has recently gone viral on various social media platforms. Moreover, there was a severe clash among students during one such programme in Sundargarh.

Several students across the State have alleged that their studies have been severely affected for more than three months due to the Nua-O programme of the Odisha government.

“Students are forced to watch celebrities dancing on the stage. They are getting disturbed by these kinds of programmes and are not able to focus on their studies for the upcoming examinations. Their skills are suppressed rather than being refined because of the programme,” said Kiran Sethi, a student in Berhampur.

“We are facing serious problems because of the programmes. The huge amount of money spent on the programme and celebrities should have been rather spent on appointing lecturers and setting up good libraries in the colleges across the State,” said a student in Malkangiri.

The State government had launched a new scheme to organize different sports, cultural and social competitions among the students. A Grant of Rs.3 lakh to 9 lakh was provided to each college for the purpose. However, even, 5T Chairman V K Pandian is found addressing such colourful shows in the presence of cine celebrities.

Now, questions have been raised on why the ruling party leaders and cine celebrities are participating in those programmes meant for students? When a grant of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 9 lakh is provided to each college, how do the college authorities manage to bring popular celebrities to their educational institutions? Are they spending money from other funds for this purpose? Isn’t it a strategy by the ruling party to woo young voters by organising these kind of colourful programmes?

Opposition parties have slammed the ruling BJD over the development.

“The Odisha government is only trying to woo the young generation by bringing cine celebrities to Nua-O programmes. Naveen Patnaik government is responsible for playing with the future of students,” said Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Charan Majhi.

“In a bid to woo young voters, they are only misguiding the students. Students are not able to focus on studies of such programmes,” said Congress leader Krushnachandra Pati.

However, the ruling BJD refuted the allegations.

“Competitions are being held among the students. The college authorities are inviting cine celebrities to encourage the students only,” said Odisha Higher Education Minister, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.

A couple of days back, the Principal of Gorumahisani College in Mayurbhanj district made it mandatory for the students to participate in a Nua-O programme. Moreover, controversies erupted when examinations were called off at Gangadhar Meher University and Fakir Mohan University recently for conducting Nua-O programmes.