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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Students and academicians have opposed the Odisha government's decision to hike seat reservation in engineering colleges for students from outside the state to 25% from the current academic year.

The Policy Planning Body, the apex advisory body of the Odisha Skill Development and Technical Education Department had approved the proposal in this regard on May 30.

Interestingly, two years back, the then Technical Education Secretary had turned down the same proposal of the Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA), so questions are now being raised on how the proposal was approved this year.

"This decision is going to put some serious effect on the students of Odisha. Even the then Secretary had criticised the decision saying Odia students will be debarred from their rights," Convenor of the association of technical and professional students, Biplab Prakash Mohanty said.

Similarly, Professor Sunil Sadangi, an educationist said "One thought that may come up in the minds of Odisha students that if 25% seat goes to outsiders then there will be lesser opportunities for them."

On the other hand, OPECA refuted the concerns that students from the state will deprived.

OPECA Secretary Binod Kumar Dash said that students will not be affected by this decision at all.

"We had informed the government that students of Odisha won't suffer because of this decision as there are surplus engineering seats," Dash said.

Similarly, OJEE Chairman Sudip Kumar said "In the first place we don't have students to fill the seats. Many are not willing to take admission in engineering colleges so I feel it (reservation for outsiders) is not a big factor."

OPECA had earlier attracted the state government’s attention urging it to look into the large number of vacancies in engineering colleges after the state started to participate in the national level JEE Mains.

It had also recommended hiking the non-domicile student quota from the present 15 to 25 percent for admission in private engineering colleges and universities.


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