This is in response to the story on Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) that has appeared on page 2 of The Hindu, dated March 27.

The headline of the story seems to be drawn from the remarks of Mr. Tony Thomas, which are biased.

Every Keralite knows that Jyothi and Uma are most popular rice varieties in Kerala and they are the contribution of KAU. Similar is the case of many other crops and varieties. Masking these truths to gain publicity is unjustified and uncalled for.

The opinions of eminent persons like T. Madhava Menon should have been highlighted instead of the one-sided remarks of a person who is not an authority on agriculture, administration or policy. The correspondent should also bear in mind that manpower is an essential ingredient in education, research and extension activities.

It should be noted that readers of The Hindu expect more propriety and balance in the stories found on its pages.

V.S. Sathiaseelan, Member, General Council, Kerala Agricultural University

The recent story with the headline ‘Agriculture varsity fails to reap success’ does not reflect the true facts. They are based on the comments of Mr. Tony Thomas, who has no authority to pass such comments. Being the head of an NGO does not confer on him the right to malign an institution that has been ranked the best in the country for the past five years.

The research contributions of KAU are well known and appreciated by the farming community. Whether it be rice varieties like Jyothi and Uma or two hundred odd varieties of other crops, including vegetables and spices or farming technologies, the contributions of KAU are invaluable. It seems Mr. Tony Thomas is unaware of the ground realities and is acting like an armchair critic to tarnish an institution which has worked hard for the state’s agri sector.

When eminent personalities like T. Madhava Menon say that the relevance of KAU is not lost, and when there are many other positives to project, it is unfortunate that the utterances of Mr Thomas have been given undue prominence.

What actually ails KAU is the apathy of policy makers and lack of financial support from the government. If only the amount spent on renovating ministers’ bungalows and replacing their cosy vehicles was spared for payment of retirement benefits of pensioners, KAU's liability would not have accumulated to this level. I wish the senior correspondent of The Hindu had shown more diligence.

Readers definitely expect The Hindu to be different and unbiased.

Sreejith P., Thrissur

Our correspondent,

K. S. Sudhi writes:

The views of the KAU Vice-Chancellor P. Rajendran and former Vice-Chancellor Madhava Menon on the contributions of the university to agriculture and Kerala society were included in detail in the report. However, there were a few others who have taken a critical view of the role and relevance of the university. These views were also taken into account while comprehensively assessing the role of the university in modern day Kerala.

Compiled by K. K. Sankaran