6th May, 2010
Clark County Water Reclamation District
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Himalayan Beacon
Ref: Closure of Agricultural University in Sikkim
Dear Mr. Roy,
First of all as always thank you for keeping us informed about the news from Darjeeling, Sikkim, and the rest of the world. One news article caught my attention today and I felt it is my responsibility through your outlet to spread the message around. The topic pertains to the closure of a university in Sikkim. As far my knowledge goes with this issue, I do not think that it is named Sikkim Agriculture University. I would highly appreciate if you could correct me if I am wrong. Because, if it is actually a Sikkim Agriculture University, then the problem is even more immense. If I know well enough the Central Government (more specifically, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, ICAR) had set up a model agriculture university for the North East called the Central Agriculture University (CAU). I think in Sikkim they have the Post Harvest Technology branch of the same university. No matter what the name or nomenclature of the institute be it is a huge loss for agriculture students and professionals from the region.
I think in a broader sense the state and the administration of Sikkim is currently suffering from the Sikkim University fascination. They do not realize that agriculture education in India does not follow a UGC pattern. Agriculture education in India is controlled by the ICAR through the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and four deemed universities (IARI, IVRI, NDRI, and, CIFE). Therefore, Sikkim University does not have the authority to impart agriculture and allied professional courses. Keeping that in mind this loss of a post harvest technology facility from Sikkim will be a huge setback for this kind of education in Sikkim. Instead of working with the Central Government on making this facility into a separate agriculture university in the long run the Sikkim government failed even to provide land for the institute. What a pathetic story, that a state government in India cannot find a public land for the university. Just take the example of a recently established university in Coochbehar (Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya). This used to be a regional campus for the much larger agriculture university the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya. They worked closely with ICAR and State Government to transform it into a fully fledged university. However, Sikkim and the Chamling administration has forgot the importance of agriculture education in Sikkim. How can you grow green, sell green, and eat green when you have no professionals or an institute to do Research and Development for better crops, fruits, and flowers for the future. The cash rich state is more interested in studying sociology, geography of China etc. These fields are not as important as the need to feed the citizens. Too bad that the administration of Sikkim cares for only press savvy research and education but not real education.