Keeping the rising Covid cases in mind, the university on Thursday had taken a decision to vacate the hostels of PG fourth semester boarders by April 12 and PG first semester boarders by April 16. It had decided to close hostel mess (except mess of research scholar hostels) from April 17. It had also asked the inmates to take their belongings to facilitate renovation work.
The university took this decision after BMC on April 5 asked the higher educational institutions including Plus II and degree colleges to vacate hostels of the students, who have appeared their examinations and no examination is due.
Protesting the BMC order and the Utkal University’s decision to vacate the hostels, hundreds of students staged demonstrations in front of the university main gate and later blocked the NH. Due to the road blockade, vehicular traffic was affected for around one hour between 10am and 11am on Friday.
Manas Sahu, a student of the university, said they cannot leave the hostels because they will cover the syllabus of next semester by attending the physical classes. “If we leave the hostel, we have to take any rented accommodation in the city. It will be very costly and many students cannot afford it during this time. Without hearing our problems, the university took the decision on its own, ”he added.
A group of students finally met higher education minister Arun Kumar Sahoo to discuss this matter. Sahoo said the hostels will not be closed for now. “We will request the university vice chancellor to open the hostels and follow all Covid protocols. If any problem arises in future regarding Covid in the campus, we will take a decision to close the hostels. For now the hostels will not be closed, ”he added.