Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 17:
The department of Employment, Technical Education & Training (ET&T) of the Odisha government has called for a full-fledged meeting tomorrow with all stake holders at the state secretariat here to resolve the deadlock prevailing at the Barapada School of Engineering & Technology (BSE&T).
“A full-fledged meeting in this connection will be held tomorrow here at 4 PM. BSE&T’s management authorities and affected parties and all officers of the administration have been asked to participate at tomorrow’s meeting. The government will hold discussions in this matter tomorrow,” ET&T minister Sanjay Das Burma told reporters here today.
Earlier in the day, former minister and BJD MLA from Bhandaripokhari Prafulla Samal, who is also the president of the society governing BSE&T, met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today. He requested the Chief Minister for taking over of the college by the government. He said it was not feasible to pay salaries to the employees since the number of students taking admission in the college was insufficient.
“There are two reasons. Under the prevailing situation, when 33% of seats in the college are not getting filled up, it’s impossible to pay full salaries to all employees without going for retrenchment. The government should immediately take over the management of the college. We would also like to make it clear that this committee will not have any role in financial matters and would not deal with withdrawal, expenditure and appointments,” said Prafulla Samal speaking to reporters here.
The teaching and non-teaching staff of the BSE&T today staged a demonstration at lower PMG square here. They demanded immediate payment of their pending salaries for the last four months. They demanded an inquiry into the financial irregularities in the college and immediate take over of the college management by the government.
“We have not received our salaries for four months. Neither have we received our EPF and other statutory dues for the last 14-15 years. We will not hesitate to go for self-immolation in front of the Chief Minister’s residence if our demands are not fulfilled,” said Sridhar Prasad Nayak, an employee of BSE&T speaking to reporters here during the demonstration.
The BSE&T, one of the premier technical institutions of the state, is going through troubled times for quite some time with employees resorting to agitation for their overdue salaries amid allegations of financial irregularities committed by the college’s management, which has family members of Prafulla Samal in it.
The 400-odd employees of the college have not received their salaries for over five months. They had agitated over the issue on several occasions in the past. But the situation turned ugly when five bombs exploded in the college premises while they were on dharna on August 7 inside the college premises after locking the gates of the college. Police had arrested 11 persons in connection with the bomb explosion incident.
A 12-hour bandh call was observed in Bhadrak town on August 14 in support of the employees of the BSE&T to a call given by the Ganatantrik Nagarik Manch.
The employees of the college alleged that Samal and his son have embezzled over Rs 100 crore from the college in the last few years.