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OUAT wears fellowship crown

Bhubaneswar, July 29: Students of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) have won the maximum number of fellowships for postgraduate courses offered by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

It’s a major achievement for the 37 OUAT students, as they had to compete with peers from 66 agriculture and central varsities.

The feat of 37 OUAT students clearing the all-India entrance examination for admission to master’s (AIEEA-PG) was recognised with Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over a prize to vice-chancellor Manoranjan Kar in New Delhi on the occasion of the council’s 86th foundation day today.

Moreover, the council will release Rs 74 lakh (Rs 2 lakh each for student) to the university as an incentive to provide better facilities and environment to the students.

The university’s director of planning, monitoring and evaluation, Santosh Rout, told The Telegraph: “Students getting their postgraduate admission will also be eligible to get the council’s junior research fellowship. It will provide Rs 12,600 for veterinary students and Rs 8,640 in other subjects and a contingency grant of Rs 6,000 a year for two years.”

The university is the second oldest agriculture varsity in India. The G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology was set up in 1960, while OUAT came into existence in 1962.

In this year’s AIEEA-PG, while OUAT achieved the top slot, it was followed by Central Agriculture University, Imphal (33) and University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS), Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bangalore (25).

Rout said OUAT also featured among the top five agriculture universities in India to crack the AIEEA-PG.

While UAS Bangalore tops the list, it is followed by UAS Dharwad, OUAT Bhubaneswar, Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University, Hyderabad, and G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology.

According to the council rules, the students getting chances to study in agriculture universities with the fellowship are not permitted to choose their parent university to study.

“This is to stop inbreeding in the educational system and ensure that bright students get to study in better facilities and universities get scope to exchange their ideas through this practice,” said an OUAT professor.

OUAT student Samir Ranjan Mishra, who has cleared the AIEEA-PG and got an offer to study at the council’s institute at Pusa in New Delhi, said: “The success will also encourage other fellow students to follow the footsteps and achieve better results.”

Jyotirmayee Behera, another OUAT student, who has chosen UAS, Dharwad, to pursue her postgraduate studies, said: “The OUAT students are also getting involved in international projects to ensure better food security for the mankind.”

Sources said OUAT’s success would help the university get better rank in its overall performance. Annually, the ICAR, Indian Council of Forest Research Institute and the Veterinary Council of India jointly conduct an accreditation exercise and OUAT was adjudged 7th best agriculture university in the country last year.

Moreover, the university has also attracted attention of various organisations and external funding agencies and received more than Rs 10 crore in the form of 26 research and extension projects.

The OUAT students have also secured four seats in the PG level and two in the PhD level at the International Rice Research Institute, Manila, in Philippines. Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojna, OUAT received five projects this year for research in crop variety improvement, strategy for crop improvement and crop protection.

While the students of OUAT are writing success stories, the popularity of the university is also gaining ground in the state. While it has 600 seats for undergraduate studies, 25,000 students applied for the entrance test this year. It was five times higher than last year’s number.