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Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: After horticulture department students of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) staged demonstration demanding 100% reservation in Assistant Horticulture Officers (AHO) posts, the agriculture department students of the university have gone up in arms opposing such demand and seeking 100% reservation in the posts of Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO).

The protest by the Agriculture department students came after the students of College of Horticulture, Chiplima in Sambalpur district staged demonstration demanding 100 per cent reservation for them in the recruitment of AHOs across the State as well as allowing their application for AAO posts.

As per reports, the OUAT agriculture students have been staging the agitation outside the Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) in Bhubaneswar office since last Saturday. The students threatened that unless the VC intervenes, they will continue their strike.

“The agriculture stream students have to study the courses of 16 departments including horticulture. If the AAO posts are opened to all, I wonder how a horticulture student will be able to help the farmers,” said an agitating OUAT agriculture student, Smaraki.

Another agriculture department student, Sashank Sekhar Mishra said, “The horticulture students demand 100 per cent reservation for AHO and also want eligibility for AAO posts. The UGC does not have any such guidelines and the demands are baseless. Till date, no one has got 100 per cent reservation in anything.”

On the other hand, the dean of OUAT informed that a committee has been formed to discuss the matter following which a proposal will be given to the Odisha Government.

OUAT Dean, K.K Rout informed, “Earlier the university had formed a committee which included representatives from horticulture and agriculture following which a report was sent to the concerned authorities in which 50 per cent reservation was given to horticulture students for AHO posts and the rest was to be shared by students of both the streams. However, the proposal is yet to be cleared.”

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