HC issues notice to govt on jaundice outbreak

The Odisha High Court Monday issued notice to the state government asking it to furnish details showing as to what steps have been taken in due course to check the jaundice menace in Sambalpur district.

Taking up a PIL in this regard, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Amitava Roy issued the notice asking the government to file its reply in form of a counter affidavit within ten days.

At least 17 persons have died due to jaundice in recent days while several others are now undergoing treatment in Sambalpur town and its adjoining places when the water-borne disease assumed epidemic proportion triggering a hue and cry in the state.

A Sambalpur-based social activist Shyamakanta Bisi last month had approached the High Court through his advocate Gangadhar Samal seeking adequate compensation to the victim’s kin and a direction to the government to take measures to check the menace.

Seeking a detailed action taken report within ten days, the High Court has fixed January 21 for next hearing of the matter, said Samal.

Road mishap on NH-6 near Ghulipali, Bargarh

Two students of a private institute died and three others sustained injuries after their car fell off the bridge over a nullah at Ghulipali under Bargarh Town police limits on NH-6 on Friday.

The deceased have been identified as Gyana Bikash Naik (19) of Bargarh town who died on the spot and Kalpeswar Das (20) of Banda village under Attabira block in the district.

The injured are Prasanta Meher (20) of Bargarh town, Sailesh Dash (19) of Banda and Ankit Sahu (20) of Paharsirgida village under Attabira block in the district.

The injured were rushed to Bargarh District Headquarters Hospital and later shifted to VSS Medical at Burla after their condition deteriorated.

Four killed in road accident in Sambalpur

In a tragic incident, four persons were killed and one seriously injured when the car in which they were travelling collided with a roadside tree on National Highway-55 at Pradhanpali area under Charamala police station limits in Sambalpur district early this morning.

The seriously injured person, identified as Rohan Bariha of Daleipada area of Sambalpur town, was rushed to government hospital at  Redhakhol from where he was later shifted to VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla as his condition became critical.

Of the four persons who died on the spot, one has been identified as a B.Tech student of Ainthapali area of Sambalpur town.

According to reports, four students of a private engineering college were on the way from Bhubaneswar in a car when the driver lost control of the vehicle which skidded off the road and collided with a tree killing four persons, including the driver, on the spot.

Meanwhile, the police and a fire brigade team have rushed to the spot. Efforts are on to bring out the bodies by cutting the doors of the car.

Central Status for Sambalpur Varsity Sought

Even as the State Government announced that an Open University would come up in Sambalpur, not satisfied with the crumbs the people of Western Odisha have reiterated their demand for Central university status to Sambalpur University.

The Open University was announced in a bid to pacify the agitators who have been demanding establishment of an Indian Institute of Management (IIM).

It was the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan who had raised the issue during the foundation day celebration of Sambalpur University recently. He had said, “Since the university caters to backward areas of Western Odisha and will celebrate its golden jubilee after two years, there is a need for visible development in terms of education and infrastructure.”

A memorandum in this regard was also submitted to Pradhan by the members of Association of Students, Employees and Teachers (ASET) requesting him to pursue the matter with the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

Although the State Government had agreed on principle to confer the status on Sambalpur University around a decade back and sent a recommendation to the Centre, nothing has come out of it as yet.

The university has 180 colleges under it. Established in 1964, it is the only university in the State that covers the largest area of 12 districts in the region.

In 2004, the BJD Government wrote to the Centre, supporting the justification behind the demand. Again in 2008, the demand was raised by the students and teachers following the Centre’s declaration to establish a Central University in Odisha, but that was given to Koraput.

“Centralisation of the University will provide good exposure to students and largely contribute towards advanced research. Fee will also come down, particularly in self-financed courses,” said an official of Sambalpur University.

In the last five years, research in Sambalpur University had gone down due to lack of adequate number of teachers. The vacancies were filled up only last year.

Besides, it does not have accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), a quality rating autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC), as a result of which it is losing out on various UGC development grants.

NAAC accreditation for Sambalpur University ended in 2010 and it is yet to apply for re-accreditation.

Minor molested by a professor, Sambalpur University

A 13-year-old girl was allegedly molested by a professor of Sambalpur University, as per the police statement.

The head of the post-graduate Department of History of Sambalpur university had allegedly molested the girl when she was alone in her house on January 4, police officials said.

The incident came to light after the victim’s father, who is a colleague of the accused professor, lodged a complaint with the Burla police station yesterday.

Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University, C R Tripathy, however, refrained from making any comment on the issue and said that the police had taken up the matter.

The incident sparked sharp reaction among the students, who burnt the effigy of the accused professor in the varsity premises.

The professor was arrested, Additional Superintendent of Police Sushil Kumar Panigrahi said.