Putting an end to a prolonged uncertainty, outgoing governor M C Bhandare on his last day in office on Sunday appointed Manoranjan Kar as the new vice-chancellor of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).
Kar, 57, met the governor and submitted his joining letter. He assumes responsibility of the coveted post, which had fallen vacant nearly three months ago, with immediate effect.
Kar, who received a call about his appointment around 11.30am, said Bhandare had a lot of expectations from him. “He shook hands with me and said he had made me the vice-chancellor because he wants to see OUAT as the No. 1 government agriculture university in India,” he said. The OUAT, which celebrated its golden jubilee last year, is ranked sixth among all state-run agriculture varsities of the country.
“More stress would be laid on research and development of technological implements that would help farmers,” he said. After D P Ray retired from the Vice-Chancellor’s post on December 17, the Principal Secretary of Agriculture Department R L Jamuda was officiating as the university’s Vice-Chancellor.
It is learnt that the Governor had short-listed five persons for the post __ Kar, OUAT Dean (extension education) Sankarsan Nanda, retired Professor Dibakar Nayak, former Dean (students’ welfare) Buddhadev Mishra and former Professor of the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities Asutosh Samantray. Delay in selection of VC led to non-disposal of files pertaining to academic and administrative matters of the university.
Kar was born at Oupada village in Pattamundai, Kendrapara. After completing his intermediate studies from Rairangpur, he did his graduation and postgraduation in agriculture from the OUAT. In 1980, he joined his alma mater as a lecturer in plant physiology and went on to do his Ph.D from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. Subsequently, he became associate professor and head of the plant physiology department. He has also headed the department of performance, monitoring and evaluation and dean of students’ welfare at the OUAT. A year ago, he had been named dean of College of Agriculture.
Former agriculture minister and BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy had questioned how Ray managed an extension in violation of the OUAT Act, 1965. K V Singhdeo (BJP), Adikant Sethi (CPI), Naba Kishore Das (Congress) and Ranendra Pratap Swain had also joined in the zero hour discussion seeking an explanation from the government.