At a time when there is massive layoffs in Indian IT sector, students of a top-ranking university of Odisha who had got campus placement offers in multinational companies, were enraged after the offer letters they received turned out to be fake. Over 50 students of Students of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University in Bhubaneswar and their parents today gathered before the university campus and raised slogans against the university for being taken for a ride. Though a platoon of policeen were deployed, tension ran high as the parents accused the university officials of playing with the lives of their children’s future.
After the agitated students and their parents contacted the university, the authorities cross-checked with various companies only to find that job offers to not only these 21 but more than 100 students by nine companies (Huawei, Ircon Construction, Schneider Electric, Mitshubishi Electric, Honeywell, Toshiba, Magneti Marelli Supertech and Intel) were fake.
In March-April this year, over 100 B Tech graduates of the engieering college Institute of Technical Education and Research under Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University were selected for jobs in Huawei, Ircon Construction, Schneider Electric, Mitshubishi Electric, Honeywell, Toshiba, Magneti Marelli Supertech and Intel through a Gurgaon-based job consultancy. However, 26 of them who went to the Gurgaon offices of the respective companies, were told by the HR officials of the companies that they had not recruited anyone from the university. “We were shocked and felt humiliated when the HR executives told us that the the offer letters were fake,” said one of the students who hoped to join her first job.
“For sometime I thought my four years of study was all in vain. The university has cheated us,” said another student. The SOA university officials said the consultancy firm that did the hiring was at fault. “We have lodged an FIR against the firm at a police station in Bhubaneswar,” said PK Sahu, dean of the university.
“We have become victim of an imposter who had no legitimate connection with the companies,” BB Pradhan, registrar of the university wrote in a mail to all the students and their parents. The university’s placement officer Raj Kumar Hota, resigned holding himself responsible for the fiasco. “The consultancy did not do proper verification before bringing the companies. It kept us in the dark about the whereabouts of the company,” Hota said in a mail to one of the affected student.
In a damage control, the university offered a few options to the affected students. “We will provide a stipend support of monthly Rs 20,000 to them and engage them as teaching assistants for a year or till they get jobs. The university will explore job prospects for them. If the students want to pursue M Tech degree in the university, the entire course fee will be borne by us,” said registrar B B Pradhan.
In April this year, SOA university, a deemed one, was ranked at No 20 in India in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2017 rankings of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The deemed university ha got ‘A’ grade acrreditation by NAAC. In October last year, the university’s founder Manoj Ranjan Nayak was arrested after a blaze in his medical-college-cum hospital killed 21 patients, many of them in ICU. Nayak, a computer teacher-turned-edupreneur, was arrested over lack of fire safety and negligence that cost the poor patients their lives. He was later released on bail, but the accident cost then health minister and Nayak’s friend Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak his job. Before that Nayak had his first brush with controversy in 2000 when the Joint Entrance Examination that conducts entrance test to engineering colleges in Odisha lodged a case of cheating and forgery against him among several others. However, he managed to get a reprieve after the Odisha High Court quashed the case.