Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said the state government will continue to pursue with the Centre regarding setting up a Central Agriculture University in the state.
The chief minister further said he would examine the demand to have a high-level inquiry to probe into the recruitment at the College of Agriculture, Kyrdemkulai in Ri-Bhoi district of the state.
Chief minister Sangma has assured this in the State Assembly on the third day of the budget session on Thursday while replying to a call attention tabled by Congress legislator, Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang.
The budget session was held only on Thursday for passage of the vote-on-account to defray certain charges for a period of three months.
The budget session has been adjourned indefinitely in view of the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.
There has been a demand to set up the CAU at Kyrdemkulai but the Centre came up with the College of Agriculture at Kyrdemkulai.
The College is under the Central Agriculture University, Imphal, Manipur.
“I have taken up the matter twice with the Prime Minister but we are yet to get a clear signal from the central government. We shall continue to pursue this matter with the Centre,” Sangma said.
On the recruitment policy in the central agriculture college, Sangma said the college is a central organisation and the policy of the state government does not apply in Central organization which is following the national policy.
Shangpliang informed the Assembly that the Central Agriculture University, Imphal has “flouted” the rules related to employment as the Schedule Tribes who got the appointment was only 5 percent.
He also questioned as to why 20 youths who have completed PhD and NET were not called for interview. “Why the CAU Imphal did not call them for interview and who are the people who have passed the interview? Let these facts be cleared and the state government should have a high-level inquiry into the recruitment,” the Congress legislator demanded.
The chief minister said that he shared the concern that the youth of the state should get employment, and he had also discussed the issue earlier with Umsning MLA Jason Mawlong on appointment of third and fourth grade staff.
On the demand to have a high-level inquiry, the chief minister assured that government would examine it.
In 2010, the Centre had informed Parliament that more central agricultural universities would be set up in the Northeast, including one new university in Meghalaya.
The new university in Meghalaya was to have jurisdiction over Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim.
At present, among the northeastern states, only Manipur has a Central Agricultural University.
The Meghalaya government had also received in writing in March 2010 from an additional secretary to the department of agriculture research and education (DARE) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) regarding establishment of a Central Agricultural University in Meghalaya. It was one of the 11th Plan projects of the DARE/ICAR.
On December 4, 2014, land measuring 226.37371 acres at Kyrdemkulai in Ri Bhoi district was handed over to the vice-chancellor of the Central Agricultural University, Imphal, S.N. Puri for the purpose of setting up the university.
On October 28, 2015, a meeting, chaired by DARE secretary and director-general of ICAR, S. Ayyappan, discussed various issues for setting up of the university in Meghalaya.
Ayyappan had clearly mentioned that the establishment of the Central Agricultural University in Meghalaya has been a parliamentary assurance on behalf of DARE and the issue could be settled on high priority.
During the meeting, it was also decided that construction of a new college of agriculture at Kyrdemkulai in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya should be initiated with the approved master plan of the university.
It was decided that after establishment of the Central Agricultural University in Meghalaya, the BSc (agriculture) students under the Central Agricultural University, Imphal would be transferred to the university in Meghalaya for award of degree and other administrative purposes.
In June last year, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed the Lok Sabha that the Centre had proposed to set up a Central Agricultural University (CAU) in Meghalaya to cater to the states of Meghalaya and Nagaland.
Tomar said this in the Lok Sabha in reply to a starred question put up by Shillong Lok Sabha MP Vincent H. Pala who sought to know the details related to the current status of the Agriculture University in Meghalaya.
Tomar said, “It was proposed to set up a Central Agricultural University (CAU) in Meghalaya to cater the states of Meghalaya and Nagaland on the basis of ‘in-principle’ approval obtained from the Planning Commission in 2009.”
Subsequently, Tomar said, the act governing the Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal was amended, fulfilling the requirement of setting up a separate university at (Umïam) Barapani, Meghalaya.
“The ministry has received a representation from the state government of Meghalaya and the same was being examined,” Tomar had said.