The Bharatiya Janata Party Government went red in the face on Friday when Governor H.R. Bhardwaj took it to task publicly on two important issues — the delay in the appointment of vice-chancellors to two agricultural universities and the Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill.

He also said that there should not be any interference from the Government in the activities of agricultural universities.

“Functioning without vice-chancellors is not the culture of agricultural universities,” the Governor observed while participating in the inaugural session of an interactive meeting of agricultural researchers, academicians and representatives of development institutions of southern States, organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research regional committee in Bangalore.

“There should be continuity in the posts of vice-chancellors,” he said, while expressing concern that the University of Agricultural Sciences-Dharwad was functioning without a vice-chancellor for nearly nine months.

He pointed out that the VC post in UAS-Bangalore had been lying vacant since April 23. The State Government, had a few days ago, constituted search-committees for choosing candidates for the posts in these universities.

He warned that food security would be threatened if the agricultural universities were not allowed to function in an effective way. “Gone are the days when one would think that food can be easily imported as everybody wants to make hay out of the food security issue. I cannot advise Karnataka (government) because it does not listen to me. That is why I am only advising the general gathering here. Also, my role is limited, and I am confined to the four walls of the Raj Bhavan,” he said.

Bill

The Governor strongly criticised the Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill and termed it a “retrograde step”. He referred to the Bill — that was adopted in the Legislative Assembly in the previous legislature session — as “controversial”. “This is not what a State like Karnataka, which has unparalleled eminence, deserves,” he said.

Mr. Bhardwaj said: “People of Karnataka are forward-looking. It is not their culture to work in the reverse direction.”

Bt controversy

He also referred to the Bt issue. Leave such issues to agricultural scientists and experts, he said. Give responsibility to them to make decisions instead of allowing those who do not have agricultural knowledge to call the shots, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, ICAR Director-General S. Ayyappan said the ICAR regional committee was meeting to review the status of agricultural research and education in the southern region. If there was a need, it would also suggest changes in the curriculum of agricultural universities. Specific problems would be analysed in respect to agriculture and allied departments in a bid to find a solution.

Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Revu Nayak Belamagi stressed the need for encouraging farmers to take up animal husbandry and fisheries, along with farming, to augment their income.

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