As per the Karnataka Universities of Agricultural Sciences Act, the search committee will have to finalise a panel of three names and submit to the government

The process of appointing Vice-Chancellors to the University of Agricultural Sciences-Dharwad (UAS-Dharwad) and the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences-Shimoga (UAHS-Shimoga) has reached a crucial stage with the search committee shortlisting three candidates for each university.

The list has since been submitted to the government.

The government had set up a committee headed by the former Additional Chief Secretary K. Jairaj to shortlist names. It comprised Director-General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research S. Ayyappan and a nominee of the chairman of the University Grants Commission among others.

The committee, which met in Bangalore on January 24, is learnt to have examined the profiles of nearly 50 agricultural scientists before shortlisting names. According to sources, most of the aspirants had applied for both the universities.

As per the Karnataka Universities of Agricultural Sciences Act, the search committee will have to finalise a panel of three names and submit to the government. The government, in turn, will forward this to the governor who will choose one candidate from among them.

The post of the Vice-Chancellor of UAS-Dharwad has been vacant for nearly a year. Presently, Registrar H.S. Vijayakumar is functioning as the in-charge Vice-Chancellor of the university which covers Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bijapur, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, and Uttar Kannada districts.

It is for the first time that a Vice-Chancellor is being appointed for the UAHS-Shimoga which was formed only in September 2012.

The UAHS-Shimoga, which is the State’s first integrated university covering both agriculture and horticultural sciences, was carved out of the UAS-Bangalore by providing jurisdiction over seven districts of Shimoga, Chickmagalur, Chitradurga, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Davangere districts.

Interestingly, head of the UAS-B’s Department of Agricultural Economics, T. N. Prakash, has written to Governor H. R. Bhardwaj and Principal Secretary, Agriculture, drawing their attention to the official communication between the chief minister’s office and the Agriculture Department on a proposal by the then Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar in March 2013 to appoint him as VC of UAHS-Shimoga.

He has maintained that as per Section 27 (4) of the Karnataka Universities of Agricultural Sciences Act, it is the prerogative of the government to appoint anybody as the “first vice-chancellor” and that there is no need for a search committee when it comes to the selection of the first vice-chancellor.

More In: Karnataka | National | States | News