Coimbatore: More than 50 graduates from Annamalai University, who had turned up at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) for postgraduate and PhD counselling for agricultural courses on Monday, staged a protest after they were asked to produce no-objection certificates stating the agricultural courses offered by Annamalai University were valid.
A government order (GO Ms no 171) released on July 9 states that only agricultural courses offered by institutions accredited by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) or state agricultural universities (SAUs) were valid, or else the students had to provide an NOC saying the courses were valid as per ICAR. This, in effect, excludes the agricultural course offered by Annamalai University, Chidambaram, as its courses are not accredited by ICAR.

The protesting candidates said though the GO was released on July 9, they were informed of it only on July 26, the day of the exam. Some protesters said they had paid the fee for counselling on July 16. “The fee payment option was opened on August 9 and we paid the fee on August 16. But only on August 17, TNAU officials informed us through mail that if we couldn’t produce an NOC from the government accepting Annamalai University courses, we shouldn’t pay the fee,” said Ayub Khan, father of Easac Khan from Sivaganga, who had completed BSc Agriculture in Annamalai University and had been selected for MSc Agriculture in TNAU. “Several students had given up other options to study in TNAU and this issue has put their future at stake,” he told TOI.

The counselling has been scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. While PG counselling was held on Monday, PhD counselling will be held on Tuesday.

Candidates for PhD programmes said they also faced the issue. D Balu, a PhD aspirant from Tiruvannamalai, who graduated from Annamalai University, said though the university’s registrar had written to TNAU, it was not considered.

Meanwhile, dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at TNAU U Sivakumar said that as per the Central government’s rule, only ICAR-accredited courses or courses from SAUs could be accepted. “We are acting according to the government order. We had informed the candidates about the NOC and cannot accept Annamalai University registrar’s communication as an NOC,” he said.

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