Meghalaya to have Central Agriculture Varsity

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Shillong, Jul 2 (UNI) The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) has decided to set up a Central Agriculture University (CAU) in Meghalaya, a senior government official said here today.

Meghalaya will be the third state among the North Eastern states after Assam and Manipur to have a Central Agriculture University.

Besides Meghalaya, the University will accommodate students from Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The DARE had asked the Meghalaya government to provide 200 hectares of land for setting up the Agriculture University.

''We have agreed to allot free land to the University at Umsning village in Ri-Bhoi district,'' Principal Secretary in-charge of Agriculture V S Oberoi told reporters here.

In this regard, Mr Oberoi said the government had also urged the Centre to send an expert team to survey the land and evaluate other facilities.

Last year, the Centre had set up a postgraduate college at Umiam in Ri Bhoi district, near the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The college will enroll over 100 students from all over the Northeast and will be initially managed by the Central Agricultural College at Imphal.

Apart from the Central Agriculture University, the Meghalaya government has also proposed to set up a Horticulture Institute at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills.

The Planning Commission has approved to fund the setting up of the institute.

''We have already constituted an expert committee to look after the setting up of the Horticulture Institute,'' Mr Oberoi said.

The potential for Agro-based industries in Meghalaya is very high. The state produces substantial quantities of oranges, peaches, pineapples, pears, guavas, plums and bananas of superior quality. It also grows plenty of potatoes, tapioca, bay leaves, ginger, maize and jackfruit.

Meghalaya's turmeric, particularly the variety that is grown in Shangpung in the Jaintia Hills, is considered the best in the world and its curcumine content is as high as 7.5 per cent.

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