Maha govt to set up panel to review status of agri-colleges

Mumbai, Aug 23 (PTI) The Maharashtra government has decided to set up an expert committee to review the status of agriculture colleges across the state as most of them do not fulfill the basic criteria of an agriculture land and college building.

According to Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar, there are more than 150 agriculture colleges across the state and most of them were given permit during the previous Congress-NCP government.

"Many colleges do not fulfill the basic criterion and such colleges will be shut down," he said.

Also, on the backdrop of complaints received by the  ministry, an expert committee shall be set up to look into the matter.

"The committee will include experts from agriculture department, scientists and officials. We will frame the points to be reviewed. The points that will be pondered upon would be college buildings, laboratories, agriculture lands for practical and other basic needs," the minister told reporters here.

The committee will be asked to submit their report within four months from the date of setting up of the committee, he said, adding permissions of colleges found unfit to conduct courses and those that do not fulfill required criteria would be cancelled.

On reasons for taking this stringent stand, Fundkar said, "The University Grants Commission and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) have de-registered accreditation of four agriculture universities in the state based on the criteria of insufficient staff, absence of laboratories and other issues. We have decided agriculture colleges too should follow these rules."

The four agriculture universities in the state which are facing the brunt are: Mahatma Fule Agricultural University, Rahuri in Ahmednagar district; Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural university, Parbhani; Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Agriculture university, Akola and Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Agriculture University, Dapoli.

Fundkar said there were 4,000 vacancies across all agriculture universities in the state and they have decided to fill them up soon.

The post of Krishi Sahayak (Assistant Agriculturist) in each tehsil will also be filled up, he added.