Ironic as it may sound, Fakir Mohan University, named after legendary Odia novelist and father of modern Odia literature Fakir Mohan Senapati, does not have a full-fledged post graduate (PG) department in Odia. Students of the university are having to shell out `40,000 to pursue a two-year course in Odia under self-financing mode.
While local educationists flay the university for not having a PG department in Odia even as the institution is named after the man who fought tooth and nail to save the language from linguistic zealots, the latter blames the Government.
University authorities said the Government has not approved opening of Odia department despite repeated demands and proposals.
The university came into existence in 1999 and was established by the Government under section 32 of the Orissa University Act, 1989. The institution earned due recognition from the University Grants Commission (UGC) after being carved out of Utkal University.
Fakir Mohan University has around 60 colleges under its control offering education at under graduate (UG) and PG levels. In fact, it is the first university in the country to offer Applied Physics and Ballistics course at PG level.
So far, the university has only seven departments - Social Sciences, Population Studies, Business Management, Information and Communication Technology, Environmental Science, Biotechnology, Applied Physics and Ballistics. Besides, it has around 23 self financing courses and six courses on distance education mode.
In the past, there have been many agitations and protests against university authorities and the Government for not opening PG department in Odia, but to no avail.
Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while unveiling a statue of Fakir Mohan Senapati on the university premises seven years back, had assured to open the department, no step has been taken as yet.
University Syndicate member Abhay Kumar Panda terms it as an irony. “It is an insult to the legendary novelist and people of the region”, he observed. Noted poet Brajanath Rath said this shows the concern of Odisha Government towards preserving its language.
University authorities said the institution was forced to open a self-financing course (SFC) in Odia in 2012 following demands from several quarters. In-charge Registrar Geetanjali Dash said the SFC was introduced as the Government did not give approval to open the department.
“In fact after 2007, not a single department has been opened here. We have been encouraged by the Government to open self-financing courses which would take care of the university’s finances”, she said.