Dr. Vikas Sharma
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) and Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) -“the common name of two varsities in the same UT i.e., Jammu and Kashmir, is creating a lot of controversies and confusions among the masses”.
Most of the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) in India are established in the name of the States like Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Tamil Naidu Agricultural University (TNAU), Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT). Moreover, Agricultural Universities in our neighbouring States have been established in the name of the State itself like Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) – Ludhiana, Haryana Agricultural University (HAU)- Hisar, Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (HPKV) – Palampur and even University of Jammu has its own identity, so on the same pattern Agricultural University of Jammu should be named as Jammu Agricultural University (JAU).
Rechristening of SKUAST-J as Jammu Agricultural University is very essential for its separate identity at UT / National level and also this name is easily pronounced and easily identified at global level.
Jammu province including 10 districts and have vast area whose length / breadth ranges from 200 to 400 kms from Lakhanpur to Bani, Doda / Bhaderwah and Rajouri / Poonch. Jammu division is the most suitable place for agricultural business, as this region contains all the three agroclimatic zones namely – subtropical, intermediate and temperate (which are not available in any other area of the country). The farmers of these areas are getting the benefit of latest advances in agricultural technologies due to the only farm University of Jammu division, thus, resulting in higher agricultural production, but there is a strong resentment among the farming community, civil society and intellectuals of Jammu region regarding the nomenclature of this agricultural varsity. They have the opinion that their identity is suppressed by prefixing the name Sher-e-Kashmir before Agricultural University of Jammu and they have high aspirations that they shall be identified by the name that itself represents all the cultures and values prevailing in their Jammu region and their identity can be recognised at National and International level.
The people who fought for making this Institution as a separate asset of Jammu, still doesn’t emotionally attached with the nomenclature assigned to this agricultural varsity. People of Jammu need separate identity of this Institution in the name of Jammu itself and rechristening of SKUAST-J as Jammu Agricultural University will be a good confidence measure for the people of Jammu, who have struggled a lot for this Agricultural University.
Moreover, SKUAST-K, being an old Agricultural Institution is also preferred at UT/State level as for the approval of at least three more faculties and one division, SKUAST-J is still awaiting nod of Agriculture Production Department and the Planning Department since 2005 notwithstanding the detailed and point-wise justification of the proposal as well as reply to all the queries with regard to required staff strength and budget estimates for the same. The request of SKUAST Jammu has been hanging fire for fifteen long years, SKUAST Kashmir has added five more faculties to its strength viz., Faculty of Horticulture, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Dairy Technology, Faculty of Fisheries and Faculty of Forestry. In 1999, both the varsities had two faculties each; Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Veterinary Science. After twenty years, SKUAST-Kashmir has seven faculties while SKUAST-Jammu stands at two faculties and yet the queries and questions put to SKUAST Jammu seem to be endless. SKUAST-Kashmir is always preferred at National level over SKUAST-Jammu as most of the times in the past funds of SKUAST-Jammu are being transferred to SKUAST-Kashmir from ICAR and it consumes a lot of effort, energy and time to bring back the funds of our university that will further delay the process to bring the latest technologies to the door steps of farmers in far flung areas.
SKUAST – Teaching Association Jammu (SKUAST-TAJ) has raised a demand regarding the change in the name of this only farm and professional University of Jammu division.
(The author is President Teaching Association SKUAST-Jammu)
Dr. Vikas Sharma