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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought Central University Status for Utkal University, the premier educational institution of the State which is celebrating its’ 78th foundation day today.

In a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Pradhan said that there has been a long-standing demand of academicians in Odisha for according Central University status to Utkal University.

At present, there are four Central Universities in Bihar and three in Andhra Pradesh. However, there is only one Central University in Odisha--the Central University in Koraput district, which caters to needs of students in Southern parts of the State.

In his letter, Pradhan wrote, “There is an acute necessity for setting up a second Central University in the State, especially around Bhubaneswar which is set to become an economic and education hub in eastern India and classifying Utkal University as a Central University would not only cater to the needs of students from coastal and eastern Odisha, but also create tremendous potential for employment generation, industry-academia interface and advanced research in the region.”

Pradhan further said that Utkal University was established in 1943 by visionary leaders like Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Pandit Nilakantha Das and Pandit Godabarish Mishra. The University began its journey under the Vice Chancellorship of Professor Pranakrushna Parija and the foundation stone of the 400-acre present campus was laid by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1958, and inaugurated by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in 1963.

At present, the Utkal University hosts 28 Post Graduate Departments and 17 self-financing courses. The University has 3 constituent colleges and 373 affiliated colleges spread across 9 districts of Odisha, with an enrolment of almost 3 lakh students.

Utkal University was accredited A+ grade with a score of 3.53/4 by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and ranked 96th among universities by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in 2020, wrote Pradhan in his letter.

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