KERALA

Task force to tackle foot and mouth disease

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Jan. 25. The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has decided to constitute a task force, with experts from the university and representatives of the Department of Animal Husbandry, to draw up an action plan to control the foot and mouth disease rampant among cattle, which has been found to assume alarming proportions in the State. The task force is to swing into action with immediate effect.

A decision in this regard was taken by the General Council of the KAU at its meeting held here today, with K.R.Gouri, Minister for Agriculture, in the chair.

B.S. Bisht, Assistant Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), informed the meeting that a scheme was on the anvil to provide employment to the agriculture graduates. Rather than being seekers of jobs, they would be made to provide employment to others under the scheme of the ICAR, he said.

The State Government has given the nod to fill 50 per cent of the existing vacancies of teaching and non-teaching staff in the KAU, said Palat Mohandas, Agricultural Production Commissioner. The SBI-aided housing scheme for Government employees will be extended to cover the staff of the KAU as well.

The three sub-committees of the general council_ the Statute Committee, Accounts Committee and Assurance Committee _ were reconstituted at today's meeting. Vellavur Sukumaran, A. Thrivikraman Thampi and Ambika Remeshan were elected chairpersons of the three sub-committees, in that order.

At the election held to the executive committee of the KAU, 41 of the 49 members, including the Minister for agriculture, exercised their franchise.

Umesh Challiyil, MLA, C.S. Vidyasagar and K.P. Mukundan, were elected to the executive committee from the constitution of unofficial members. A.P. Anil Kumar, MLA, was elected unopposed to the seat reserved for Scheduled Castes. M.K. Sheela will be the women's representative in the executive committee and F.M.H. Khaleel is the representative of teachers.