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Court orders Special OJEE

Cuttack, Aug. 1: Orissa High Court today directed the state government to hold a Special OJEE test for BTech (engineering) courses for the current academic year (2014-15) to give another opportunity to eligible students to seek admission in technical institutions across the state.

The court also directed the government to hold the second OJEE test for MBA and MCA courses for the current academic year.

The court has asked the OJEE committee to start the process of holding the test from tomorrow and complete admissions in engineering colleges by August 15.

The direction comes in response to a plea filed by the Odisha Private Engineering Colleges’ Association.

Until last year, admissions to BTech courses in engineering colleges of the state were done through the Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE). However, with the state government joining the Joint Entrance Examination (Main), engineering aspirants had to take the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted common all-India engineering entrance test.

The state has 111 engineering colleges, including 10 government-run institutes. Of the 48,687 BTech seats available in these colleges, it is estimated that nearly 37,000 seats are likely to fall vacant.

While passing the order, the two-judge bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice B.N. Mohapatra said: “It cannot be denied the fact that neither the institutions nor the state government or any student will be gainer if substantial number of seats is allowed to remain vacant in technical institutions. It will be beneficial to all concerned if as many eligible students are afforded another opportunity to pursue technical education without compromising on merit. If a large number of seats remain vacant in both government and private technical institutions, that will be a national waste.”

The court endorsed the association’s contention that many eligible students could not take the all-India examination, because their results were either not declared before the last date for submission of application for JEE (Main) or some students took supplementary tests.

The court took note of the association’s contention that though 63,000 students had taken the OJEE test for BTech courses last year, the number of students who appeared for JEE (Main) this year had dropped to 50,000.

Secretary of the association Binod Dash told The Telegraph: “We had first appealed to the state government to conduct a special JEE, anticipating huge vacancies. Now that the high court has directed, we expect the state government to implement the order without any delay. In the first round, only 11,200 seats were filled up.”

While the common all-India engineering entrance test — JEE (Main) — covered seats for BTech courses, the state-level exam ensured lateral admissions into pharmacy, homeopathy, ayurveda, MBA and MCA.