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Devbrat Patnaik

Berhampur: At a time when the Chancellor’s second official letter confirmed his attendance at the convocation ceremony of Berhampur University on February 6 and came as a relief for the varsity authorities, protests against the functioning of the varsity do not seem to be dying down with the Ganjam Bar Association Saturday staging a demonstration in the city demanding stringent action against gross misappropriation of public funds by the University.

The lawyers of the Ganjam Bar Association submitted a memorandum to the Governor through Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) and demanded inquiry into the discrepancies and strict action against those responsible. Reportedly, the Ganjam Loka Shakti Manch has also submitted a memorandum in this regard.

They have brought allegations that there is gross misappropriation of different funds generated by RUSA and UGC for the varsity. Being a premier educational hub of South Odisha, they alleged the educational atmosphere is, at present, in a devastating condition.

In the letter, they mentioned that the UGC Grants meant for research and infrastructure development are being misutilised and not used for the purpose of students’ welfare.

Furthermore, they alleged that the varsity has not considered eminent persons, laureates, educationists, artists, folk artists, singers and writers from South Odisha for the honorary Ph.D Degree, rather the decision of Syndicate to felicitate people who are undeserving in comparison has created discontentment among the civilians, they added.

They further demanded a high level probe into all the matters failing which they will resort to mass agitation for the revival and reinstitution of goodwill of the 51-year-old varsity.

Earlier, the university had decided to postpone the convocation ceremony following a letter from Chancellor SC Jamir where he apparently refused to be a part of the convocation. The Chancellor, though did not mention any reason behind it, had approved only two of the three names recommended by University Syndicate to award D. Litt degree.

Even though the convocation date did not get postponed and is scheduled on February 6, it remains to be seen if the annual event is conducted peacefully among growing resentment among all sections of the society.

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