Bhubaneswar, Nov. 20: Engineering students from colleges affiliated to Biju Patnaik University of Technology today gheraoed the technical education department to press for their demand for 50 per cent job reservation in all industrial houses operating within the state.
Blaming the worldwide economic slowdown for the sluggish job market, the students said the state government must ensure jobs for students graduating from institutes governed by it.
“Thousands of youths are sitting idle with a BTech degree, while some are underemployed and are receiving salary far less than what they deserve,” said Sumant, a student.
Today’s protest – the second within a span of four days – continued for over two hours and was called off only after police intervention. The agitating students said many companies were driving out freshers after the first few months of service.
“Colleges under Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) have a tie-up with various multi-national companies. They absorb the students only to throw them out later without giving any explanation whatsoever. The varsity does not even have a placement system of its own,” said engineering student Sangeeta, adding that the situation had driven quite a few students to commit suicide.
On Saturday, more than 2,000 BPUT students demonstrated under the banner of All-Odisha BPUT Students’ Association holding placards and raising slogans for job reservations in all technical posts for them.
“The Odisha government must ensure this by making it a mandatory provision in its MoUs with various private organisations,” said Adya Parana Subudhi, another agitating student.
The students also demanded functioning of the BPUT camp office from Bhubaneswar.
“Of the 114 colleges under the BPUT, 104 colleges are in Bhubaneswar. So, it is illegal to shift the camp office from here to Rourkela in an arbitrary manner,” said Biplab Prakash Mohanty, another student.
The students threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike in front of the house of technical education minister Pratap Keshari Deb if their demands were not fulfilled immediately. They also demanded a full-fledged placement cell under the varsity and a 24-hour students’ helpline.
“The government must also take action against colleges that charge fees more than what has been prescribed by the varsity’s fee regulation committee,” said another student.
BJD leaders Baijayant Panda, Prasanna Patasani, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Bhagirathi Badajena, Ashok Panda and Priti Ranjan Ghadai were also present at the rally.