Lack of staff, few research initiatives are the varsity’s biggest problems
Has the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, headquartered in Bidar, served the purpose it was set up for? With the varsity’s seventh foundation day approaching, this question is doing the rounds in academia.
The government established the university on the recommendations of the D.M. Nanjundappa committee, through an Act passed in February 2004. The then Governor T.N. Chaturvedi inaugurated it on January 16, 2005.
“On the university’s logo, we declared that it would be ‘rural oriented and farmer friendly’. If you ask me if these aims have been achieved, I will say ‘no’” said R.N. Srinivas Gowda, its founding Vice-Chancellor.
“A university in agriculture or allied fields has the minimum mandate of teaching, research and extension. The teaching-learning process in the university is ok. But there is no visible research or extension work being done,” he said.
Insiders point out the university’s many challenges. First, the veterinary colleges in Hassan and Shimoga, which were started four years ago, are yet to be accredited by the Veterinary Council of India.
The transfer of research and extension centres, such as the Amrit Mahal breeding farm, from the University of Agriculture Sciences is unresolved.
Second, there is severe shortage of teachers and non-teaching staff.
The first round of recruitment of 122 teachers proved controversial for having violated the government’s reservation policy. An inquiry pointed out several irregularities in the recruitment process, but the government is yet to act on this report.
Besides, there has been no recruitment of non-teaching staff in these seven years. The staff are all on contract, a senior officer of the university said.
Lack of research
Third, in the last seven years, the university has not released improved varieties of animals, birds or fishes. Not enough research has been taken up to produce disease-resistant varieties, a professor said.
“Our extension work leaves much to be desired. A survey was conducted on the needs of farmers in each district, but no action has been taken,” a senior officer in the extension wing said. He cited lack of funds and shortage of personnel as the reasons.
The university’s academic council has decided to hold the annual convocation and foundation day function in Bangalore this year, saying neither the Governor nor the students would participate in the function if it was in Bidar.
In fact, Mr. Chaturvedi was the last Chancellor to visit the university.
“This clearly shows that the university has failed to develop a character of its own. Its image remains that of an institution where the students who passed out from here don’t want to come back for the convocation. This is unfortunate,” said Lakshmi Bavge, district secretary of the Students Federation of India.
“The political leadership has been indifferent to the university too,” said Khaji Arshed Ali, former MLC and journalist. “Two of our district in-charge Ministers, Revu Naik Belamagi and Mirajuddin Patel, have been Pro-Chancellors of by virtue of being Animal Husbandry Ministers. But their contribution to the development of the university has been next to nothing.”
Vice-Chancellor C. Renuka Prasad considers the problems teething troubles. The university was working towards realising the ideals with which it was established, he said.
Among the proposed initiatives, he said, were foreign exchange programmes for teachers and students, and a revamped research directorate.
Teachers had been asked to get sponsored projects and a proposal had been submitted to the State government to allot land in each district to set up extension wings, along the lines of krishi vigyan kendras, Dr. Prasad said.
- ‘Survey was conducted on the needs of farmers in each district, but no action was taken’
- Convocation moved to Bangalore as students would not attend function in Bidar