Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 5:
Urging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to amend the Odisha Professional Educational Institutions (OPEI) Act-2007 forthwith, 90 private negineering colleges in the state have threatened not to admit students this year.
The threat was contained in a letter written by the Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA) to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday.
OPECA members have been demanding an amendment to the OPEI for a long time now. Last year, they had submitted a memorandum to the Employment, Technical Education and Training (ETET) Department and had met the ETET Minister Sanjay Das Burma without any success.
Notably, a high power committee had been formed to look into the possible reforms to the Act back in 2009. The committee submitted its report in 2010. The cabinet subcommittee has also submitted its report in 2014.
“All these reports advocate a 10 percent management quota and a free hand for management to take in students against vacant seats after JEE counselling. However, without the approval of the Chief Minister, the amendment is going nowhere,” said Secretary of OPECA Binod Dash.
“The government is sitting over the files while the number of private engineering colleges continues to grow. The state has 48,687 seats in 90 private and eight government engineering colleges now. More than Rs 5000 crores have been invested in these institutions. With more than half the seats lying vacant, many of the colleges have no choice but to close down,” he added.
OPECA argued that seats in private engineering colleges never used to go vacant when OPEI Act was introduced. However, given that most colleges now experience vacant seats, the Chief Minister needs to discuss the recommendation of the committees and get the amendments done, failing which its members would stop admitting new students.