Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday sought Central University status for Utkal University, contending that it would boost employment generation and advanced research in the region.
In a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Pradhan urged for the minister’s personal intervention in granting the status to Utkal University.
The Petroleum and Steel minister pointed out that while neighbouring Bihar has four Central Universities and Andhra Pradesh has three Central Universities, Odisha has only one such university in Koraput, which primarily caters to the students of southern parts of the state.
The senior BJP leader, who hails from Odisha, said that there is an acute necessity for setting up a second Central University in the state, especially around Bhubaneswar.
“Bhubaneswar is set to become an economic and education hub in eastern India and classifying Utkal University as a Central University would not only cater to the needs of students from coastal and eastern Odisha, but also create tremendous potential for employment generation, industry-academia interface and advanced research in the region,” Pradhan said.
Noting that Utkal University was established in 1943 by visionary leaders like Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Pandit Nilakantha Das, and Pandit Godabarish Mishra, he said, the university began its journey under the Vice Chancellorship of Prof Pranakrushna Parija and the foundation stone of the present 400-acre campus was laid by Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1958, and inaugurated by Dr S Radhakrishnan in 1963.
“Keeping in mind the prime minister’s vision of empowering institutions of higher learning in the country, promoting research as well creating industry-ready manpower, I request your personal intervention in granting the status of a Central university to Utkal University,” Pradhan said.
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