Berhampur: The Berhampur University’s identity of being the only university in the state to run Earth Science and Technology Cell (ESTC) may disappear soon, as the ESTC is going to shut-down in near future; reason the negligence of the university towards the cell’s management. Projects coming through ESTC have also stopped due to the irresponsibility of university authority, alleged students.
The Berhampur University signed an MoU with Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Government of India, January 15, 1998 and thereby Earth Science and Technology Cell was established as an autonomous cell on Marine Coastal Ecology. The Cell focuses in promotion and implementation of advanced studies and research on marine coastal ecology.
Recently, the university authority sent a letter to the state government to close the cell.
ESTC used to create employment opportunities for researchers and students of other universities in the state. But now a report states that it might get shut, which will have a direct impact on jobs in the state.
The ESTC was established to encourage and promote the potential of research in frontier areas of the designated fields through projects and also generate projects after peer reviews at several stages.
The Cell also promotes research by linking Berhampur University with other research institutions/industries in and outside the country for exchange of ideas/ knowledge through collaborative planning.
The funds which had been sanctioned to execute developmental projects in the ESTC were returned due to the incompetence nature of the university authority, students alleged.
After the establishment of the Cell, students from marine science, life science and botany department were getting admission in the department for doing their PHD and M.PHIL in the institution. But from the last four to five years not a single post of PHD or M.PHIL has been announced by the university authority.
Sources said, in 2008, for the project works of PHD students the Centre had sanctioned Rs 1.29 crore. The university authority had to return the fund i.e. Rs 1.35 crore (including interest money) to the Centre due to non-utilisation of funds in 2010.
The employees who have been working in the Cell have not got their salaries since 2012.
The university authority had to discontinue the Geophysics course since 2012 due to the unavailability of lecturers as it did not have funds to pay them. And, the ESTC has been closed since 2017 unofficially.
When vice-chancellor of Berhampur University Govind J Chakrapani was contacted, he replied that as the Central government is not releasing any fund for the functioning of the cell, so the university authority has to shut it down.