Demand for agriculture courses as high as ever

Jun 21, 2013

Agriculture courses
Agriculture courses

Of late, the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has been in the news for several wrong reasons. What steps are you taking to address these issues?

Several good things are also happening in the university, but unfortunately the media has highlighted the negative developments, most of which were not deliberately done. It is my request to highlight positive developments. I give priority to honesty and integrity and would suggest my students and staff to follow them. But at the same time, if anyone is found guilty, he will be punished.

The Centre has allotted Rs 50 crore grants to the university for strengthening research and development. How have you planned to spend the money?

The funds will be allotted to us through the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). We have been formulated several need-based research projects. Our major focus areas of research are climate change, natural resources management, post harvest management, developing disaster prone varieties, animal diseases and forestry management. Besides, we are also planning to create better infrastructure to support these research programmes like setting up state-of-the-art equipments, upgrading laboratories and so on.

What are the major challenges the university is facing for expanding its research base?

For the last few years, shortage of teachers has been a major problem. In addition, over 60% posts of support staff have been vacant, affecting the efficiency of senior officials. Besides, funds crunch is another problem for the university. We have written several letters to the state, but the government has not taken any step in this regard. However, they have assured to resolve the issues soon.

For the last 50 years how has the university helped in growth of agriculture in the state?

OUAT is the only agri-university in the state that has constantly been contributing for the growth of agriculture in Odisha by producing over 140 varieties of crops, many farmer-friendly technologies and farm equipment.

In the age of advanced technology and new-age courses, do you think students still have interest for agriculture courses?

The demand for agriculture courses is as high as ever. Rather, this year we have received over 19,000 applications for 600 seats in the university, which is a record. The courses have been upgraded with time.

What are the immediate changes we can expect in the university?

I have been working in the university since the 1980s and as an insider I have felt most in the university want a revamp of the campus. So, my dream is to give a modern and swanky look to the campus, for which we have already consulted architects. They have started preparing a master plan for the makeover and the works will be completed by 2014.

Prof ManoranjanKar was appointed the vice-chancellor of Orissa University of Technology (OUAT) in March this year, following the controversial departure of his predecessor, D P Ray. Kar, who has served the university in various important positions over the years, shares with MinatiSingha his plans of making the 51-year-old university into a centre of excellence. Courtesy The Times of India

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