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OUAT boss resigns amid BJD protest

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 17: Three days after his tenure as the vice-chancellor (VC) of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology was extended by one month, Professor D.P. Ray tendered his resignation today.

Several BJD legislators were opposing Ray’s third extension term for the last one month. They also expressed their displeasure over the issue in the Assembly today.

Pending selection of the new VC, governor M.C. Bhandare, who is the chancellor of the university, had extended Ray’s tenure by a month on Saturday. The third extension of his tenure had invited criticism from various quarters since the OUAT Act, 1965, prohibits any person from holding the post of VC beyond two consecutive terms.

Ray’s resignation letter was sent to the chancellor yesterday. The chancellor accepted it today. Ray said: “My term ends today. So, I tendered my resignation today. Several development works were initiated in the varsity during my term and most of them have been completed successfully. However, I could not complete the two new projects — the College of Veterinary Science at Chiplima and the Dairy College in Baripada. I hope the next VC will complete these two projects.”

However, he was evasive on the controversy pertaining to the extension of his tenure and allegations against him.

Principal secretary of agriculture department Rangalal Jamuda will act as the VC of the varsity until a new appointment is made. An official termed it as an “interim arrangement”.

In 2009, Ray was re-appointed for a second three-year term as the VC of the OUAT, the second largest agriculture university in the country. The appointment invited a PIL, which is still pending in Orissa High Court.

Sources said that intense lobbying was going on for the post. The names of former IAS officer Rabi Narayan Senapati, IIT-Kharagpur faculty member R.K. Panda and OUAT dean (extension education) Sankarsan Nanda have been recommended by the state government for the post.

The Indian Council of Agriculture Research, which has a say in the appointment, has recommended Sankarsan Nanda, agriculture scientist Dibakar Nayak, former OUAT dean Nirad Kumar Dhal, OUAT dean (agriculture) Manoranjan Kar, OUAT dean (students’ welfare) Buddhadev Mishra and fisheries expert P.K. Jena for the post.

The governor has called the candidates for a personal interview on December 21.