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AAU makes history with Bujarbaruah

Jorhat, Aug. 2: The Assam Agricultural University here scripted history with a vice-chancellor beginning office for the second consecutive term today.

For the first time in the over 50-year-old university, the board of management unanimously sought a second tenure for K.M. Bujarbaruah, on the basis of his performance in the past five years, at a meeting held on June 18.

Bujarbaruah’s first term came to an end on July 27.

This was ratified by the government and the letter of another term accorded to him from the governor’s office reached the university at 5.30 last evening, spreading cheer among a large section of the employees.

The board of management comprised three MLAs from different parts of the state, teachers’ representatives, farmers’ representatives, senior state agriculture department officials, senior state government officials, industrialists, the vice-chancellor of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, and others.

A source said for various reasons the board had never recommended an extension earlier.

R.K Saud, the public relations officer and deputy director, extension education department of the university, said the greatest achievement under Bujarbaruah was obtaining its accredited status and facilitating its elevation to fifth position among agricultural universities in the country (ranked by Career 360 magazine).

It was earlier at the bottom of the list.

“The university was at its nadir with a deficit running into crores when the current vice-chancellor took over. The staff did not get regular salaries. Their GPF funds of Rs 10 crore had been utilised for salaries and seed fund of Rs 2.5 crore utilised for salaries, besides diversion of funds from ICAR to the tune of around Rs 30 crore. This resulted in the MoU with the government of Assam, restricting appointment and cutting down posts,” he said.

“From a demoralised lot of teachers who did not have proper laboratory facilities and incentives, we now have an university in which posts of 131 teachers and 193-non teaching staff have been advertised for appointment towards the end of his last term. There has been a sea change in research, extension and studies, besides the tie-up with foreign universities like Cornell,” he added.

Kosheswar Kachari, the farmers’ representative on the board, said till a few years ago, farmers at Titabar did not know anything about what the university was doing, regarding research on rice, floriculture and pisciculture.

“But now we have a close relationship with many of the faculty and extension employees,” he said.