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Rice varieties named after former Agri Min, wife stirs row

Pradeep Maharathy

Bhubaneswar: Two rice varieties analogous to the names of a Minister and his wife has kicked up a major controversy as many deserving people have been left out in the naming of the varieties.

The rice varieties developed by the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) have been named after former Agriculture Minister and present Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Maharathy and his wife Pratibha Maharathy. They are OR 2327-23 (IET 20923) as Pradeep and OR 2172-7 (IET 21582) as Pratibha.

It is alleged that a top official of the research team is related to Pradeep Maharathy and has christened the rice varieties after the Minister and his spouse.

OUAT Vice-Chancellor Surendranath Pasupalak stated that it was done without his knowledge. “The then VC had passed an order. They had bypassed me. It was done without my knowledge. Someone having significant contribution to the field could be named. Nomenclature shouldn’t be done after politicians and Ministers,”

While Maharathy seems to have landed in a soup, present Agriculture Minister Dr Damodar Rout came to his defence putting the onus on the OUAT.



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