Bhubaneswar: Information fetched through a Right to Information (RTI) plea has exposed the deplorable condition of higher education infrastructure in Odisha thanks to the litigations over the contentious Orissa Universities (Amendment) Bill.
Replying to an RTI query by Sanjay Kumar Mohanty of Dhenkanal district, the public information officer (PIO) of Utkal University revealed Monday severe staff crunch in the premier institution in the state. As per information, around 47 per cent posts are lying vacant out of 257 teaching staff posts sanctioned for various departments in Utkal University. A total of 119 faculty posts in various departments like History, Physics, Commerce and Mathematics are lying vacant.
Also 34 positions out of the 47 sanctioned posts for professor are lying vacant. Similarly, 40 associate and 45 assistant professor posts have not been filled up against the sanctioned numbers of 76 and 134 in the respective category.
The seriousness of the situation can easily be gauged from the fact that all the faculty positions in the Library and Information Science department of Utkal University have been lying vacant for a long time now. Similarly, there are almost 90 per cent vacancies in many other important departments.
Only two assistant professors are working in the Department of Commerce in Utkal University while the remaining eight posts of professors and associate professors are lying vacant. Similarly, six out of seven posts in Mathematics department have not been filled up.
A total of 10 positions out of the 15 posts of faculty in the department of Psychology, four of seven posts in Zoology department, four of 12 positions in Geology department are vacant.
This apart, the university has also been facing a severe shortage of staff in the non-teaching segment. Almost all the positions of librarians, including the post of chief librarian, are lying vacant in Utkal University.
All four assistant librarian posts in the Parija Library and 11 library attendants’ posts are lying vacant. There is no student welfare officer in Utkal University too.
Nine out of 13 posts under Group A, 58 out of 113 in Group B, 276 out of 415 Group C, and 331 out of 439 in Group D have been vacant in Utkal University.
Through the RTI, it has also came to the fore that under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme, the university has received Rs 41.66 crore in 2019 and Rs 33.33 crore in 2021.
“We are not authorised to conduct recruitment. The Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) will conduct the recruitment after the end of pending litigations in court,” Vice-Chancellor Sabita Acharya told Orissa POST.