Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh: ‘Social scientist’ who strives for eliminating hunger

Velamoor Rajagopal founded the Society for Hunger Elimination in 2011.

Velamoor Rajagopal founded the Society for Hunger Elimination in 2011. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Known for his humane approach, this tireless septuagenarian not only spreads knowledge far and wide, but also is committed to eliminating hunger from the society. At 78, the retired scientist addresses his peers and students through seminars and webinars. At the same time, he provides food packets to the impoverished.

Velamoor Rajagopal, who retired as the Director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) at Kasaragod in Kerala, has shot to fame as ‘Coconut Man’, in view of his wide-ranging research on coconut and its by-products.

Thousands of coconuts broken daily as part of fulfilment of vows at the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala are merely discarded. Dr. Rajagopal’s valuable suggestion given a decade back to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) on making by-products out of the hard shell and coir still remains on paper. There was no follow-up on his report submitted to then Executive Officer K.V. Ramanachary. “The idea was well received, but no action has been taken in this regard yet. Even today, tonnes of the coconut shells makes way to garbage bins,” he says.

Having served 35 years in various research and administrative positions across India and abroad, Dr. Rajagopal returned his home town of Tirupati. He decided to translate his academic acumen into social action. Issues pertaining to hunger and malnutrition prompted him to launch the Society for Hunger Elimination (SHE) in 2011, which mobilises funds and leverages contacts to feed the poor in and around Tirupati.

Dr. Rajagopal has also written hundreds of articles and dozens of books on agriculture, nutrition, weather data, technology literacy of farmers, nature conservation and so on. His works ‘Hunger: Food security and socio-economic scenario’, ‘Malnutrition’ and ‘Make Hunger-free India’ were released in 2014, 2016 and 2018 by his mentor Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, hailed as the ‘Father of Green Revolution in India’.

Donning a new role, the scientist is now getting ready to conduct quiz competitions for children on the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.


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Printable version | Sep 10, 2022 12:08:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-social-scientist-who-strives-for-eliminating-hunger/article65757283.ece