Jorhat, Nov. 12: Assam governor J.B. Patnaik today awarded degrees to the students of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) during its 18th convocation here.
The Union secretary of department of agricultural research and education, S. Ayyappan, who was a guest of honour at the ceremony, said he looked ahead to the role of the university in the country’s Look East Policy.
Ayyappan, who is also the director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research praised the ongoing research, infrastructure development and teaching facilities of the university said this was the only agriculture university in India which reminded him of the facilities available at Cornell University in the US and was well equipped to receive students from the Southeast Asian countries in case the Centre decides to open up its border with countries under Asean.
“Recently, the agriculture ministers of Asean countries had visited Delhi and if there is any university which has the standard to cater to students of the Southeast Asian countries then this is it,” Ayyappan said, adding that he wished that he could have taken admission into this university today.
He said A stood for Assam and A stood for agriculture and if the Centre implemented the Look East Policy then this was the first state which Southeast Asian countries would look to and the university was all ready to take the lead.
Stressing on A for agriculture, Ayyappan said there was need for more A schools in the country rather than B schools.
Exhorting the students to go back to farming and the villages, he said agriculture should be given societal recognition.
“You all should go back to the villages as agricultural entrepreneurs and give a new direction to this field, vis-à-vis information and communication technology, intellectual property management and precision farming,” he said.
Ayyappan touched upon the challenges of agriculture in the state and country like producing both drought and flood resistant varieties of paddy as Assam had both these conditions.
Governor Patnaik, who is the chancellor of the university, called upon agricultural scientists and the political leadership to come together and work on a new land and agricultural policy which would meet the challenges of food production of more than 100 million metric tonnes by 2025.
Patnaik also called for social security programme for farmers and a separate pricing mechanism so that they got a lucrative price for their produce.
He asked the university and state government to work together to make Assam self-sufficient in poultry items, milk, fishes and high yielding breeds of rice.
Patnaik awarded doctorate of science degrees to tea planter Hemendra Prasad Barooah and former Union secretary of department of agricultural research and education, Bhaskar Baruah, and also to the batches of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Vice-chancellor K.M. Bujarbaruah said the university had enough funds as the state government had given its unstinted support for everything that was required and the ICAR for research.
“We have received Rs 168 crore from the state government this year and Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore from ICAR. Hence, we are being able to go ahead with many projects, including the simultaneous construction of five out of seven colleges under the university,” he said.