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AAU honour for planter

Jorhat, Nov. 10: The Assam Agricultural University will confer honorary doctorates upon Hemendra Prasad Barooah, tea planter and former chairman of Tea Research Association, and Bhaskar Baruah, former secretary, agriculture, government of India, at its 18th convocation on Monday. In the 17th convocation held two years ago, an honorary doctorate had been conferred upon chief minister Tarun Gogoi. All three men belong to Jorhat.

Assam governor and chancellor of the university J.B. Patnaik will inaugurate the university’s international hostel that day. S. Ayyappan, secretary to the government of India and director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, will inaugurate the girls’ hostel and lay the foundation stone of the office building of the university’s Fishery Research Centre before the convocation.

Addressing a press meet today, vice-chancellor K.M. Bujarbaruah said 1,057 students in various categories — degree, post-graduate and PhD — will be awarded their degrees on Monday. Altogether 17 gold medals and 15 cash awards will be given to students for outstanding performance. He said a healthy academic environment prevailed in the colleges under the university. The number of admission seekers into the colleges has increased by five times this year compared to 2005-06, he added.

“In 2005-06, there were only 400 applicants for admission but this year we got 2,071 with the cut-off per cent being 75 per cent in agriculture, 64 per cent in fishery college, and 62 per cent in home science in the general category,” he said.

Bujarbaruah said the number of PhD students in 2009, when he had joined as the vice-chancellor, were only eight — three in agriculture, four in veterinary science and one in home science. However, the number went upto to 88 in 2010. In 2011, it was 78 while 92 persons have registered for the doctorate degree this year.

Bujarbaruah also highlighted infrastructure development, air-conditioning of classrooms in colleges, revamp of the fishery college at Raha near Nagaon, the agriculture college at Biswanath Chariali and the home science college in Jorhat, reconstruction of the veterinary college at Lakhimpur and setting up of a new agriculture college at Dhubri.

On teachers’ training, he said some had undertaken advanced training programmes and another batch had taken e-teaching training.

“Unofficially we are now ranked third in the country and if the trend continues, we will soon be on top,” he said.