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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Eligibility ‘loss’ baffles Utkal

Bhubaneswar, March 3: Utkal University students have been baffled by the sudden disappearance of their varsity’s name from the list of colleges eligible for e-scholarships under the state higher education department.

This came a day after a group of Utkal students exposed serious loopholes in security of the e-scholarship website.

“When we informed the authorities that the website could be hacked and the information tampered with, we had no idea that the tables would be turned against us. I opened the e-scholarship page this morning and was shocked to find that Utkal University, which was at the top of the list of colleges, was missing,” said Javed Anwar, a student of integrated MCA, who had brought to light the vulnerability of the website to hacking.

The e-scholarship scheme of the state government covers students belonging to 17 technical and non-technical streams who are entitled to an annual grant of Rs 10,000.

The developers of the e-scholarship page have also not included Utkal among the list of universities that conduct entrance exams for the disciplines covered under the scheme, said Javed. The only options available are the Odisha Joint Entrance Examination, All-India Engineering Entrance Examination and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology.

“It seems to be a deliberate attempt to deprive students of our university of this scholarship because our seniors pointed out the flaws in their website,” said a second-year law student of Utkal, on condition of anonymity.

The students, who are planning to approach the higher education officials tomorrow to vent their grievances, also said officials managing the Sanjog helpline of the department were not giving satisfactory answers to their queries on e-scholarship.

“The government is spending a lot of money for the helpline, but most of time, it is either not functioning or is being handled by unqualified personnel,” a student said.

Throwing light on the loopholes, the students said the department had published an advertisement in the newspapers regarding the online scholarship, but instead of giving the website address only an IP address (http://65.19.149.177) had been mentioned. “It does not have password protection and can be tampered with easily. One need not be a hacker to change the options for colleges, reservation categories, courses eligible for the grant,” said Javed.