S. Arul Raj, Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Research Project on Palms, Kasargod, on Saturday took over as Director, National Research Centre (NRC) for Oil Palm at Pedavegi from M. Kochu Babu.

He had handled different positions in his career spanning over three decades in plantation crops research which included Sr. Scientist at Sugarcane Breeding Institute and Principal Scientist of CPCRI.

He strove for release of eight coconut varieties and two coconut hybrids for cultivation in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.