SAMBALPUR: Students of Gangadhar Meher (Autonomous) College boycotted classes on Tuesday over unitary university status for the college. They also staged demonstration in front of the collectorate and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through Collector Balwant Singh.
They said even as Khallikote Autonomous College and Rama Devi Women’s College are set to be upgraded to cluster university and State’s first women’s university respectively under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Siksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the GM College is yet to get the unitary university tag.
It was in 2009 that the Government appointed task force on higher education reforms had suggested upgrading these three premier autonomous colleges to university status. The status would have helped the institute avail more financial assistance from the University Grants Commission (UGC) as well as provide broader scope for teaching and research. The Higher Education Department had asked the then principal of the college Gangadhar Mishra to furnish status report on available infrastructure along with subject-wise student strength, teaching and non-teaching staff for necessary action.
Justifying the unitary university demand, students said the college is the biggest autonomous college in the State having a student strength of over 5000.
The college requires 50 acres of land and adequate number of teachers to get the unitary university status.
While the college administration has been making arrangements for the land component, teacher vacancies are yet to be taken care of. The college is in possession of 38 acres of land in Sambalpur town while, the campus is wifi enabled and has a digital library. However, there are just about 63 regular teachers in the college against sanctioned posts of 119.
The agitating students said if the Government failed to initiate necessary steps for elevation of the status of the college within 15 days, they would boycott classes for indefinite period.
Earlier, students of the college had staged dharna on the college premises on January 8. Similarly, members of the Sachetana Sambalpur Nagarika Manch had also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy over the matter.