North-east scientist conferred with 'Norman Borlaug Chair' award

North-east scientist conferred with

Submitted by Rashmi on Fri, 2016-04-08 14:50 Jorhat (Assam): Professor Bidyut Kumar Sarmah, who has been awarded the prestigious 'Norman Borlaug Chair' by the Indian Council For Agricultural Research for his pioneering research in insect resistance in grain legumes, is the first agricultural scientist from the north-east to have been selected for this honor. Dr. Sarmah, who hails from Assam's Jorhat town, is a known name in the field of agricultural biotechnology research in India for developing insect-resistant Bt-chickpea, which is in the process of deregulation through confined field trials. Dr. Sarmah is the director of DBT-AAU Centre and professor in the department of Agricultural Biotechnology of AAU, which apart from conducting research also conducts research training and programmes. "Although in India we produce the highest amount of chickpea worldwide almost 70 percent of chickpea is produced and area wise also 80 percent of it is produced in India and its use is also very rich in our country that's why we import huge amount of pulses not only chickpea but other pulses as well. Pulses are very important in Indian agriculture," said Dr. Sarmah. "Being in Assam why I thought of working in chickpea because in chickpea the major problem in Assam is the sour green paste," he added. Dr. Sarmah has been working in the field of gene technology for legume improvement for almost two decades and has successfully conducted several national and international collaborative researches. His ten years of research in chickpea gene technology has led to a few significant achievements. The rare honor is given to him as an impact of his research in Indian as well as International agriculture. The Assam Agricultural University (AAU)-fraternity expressed its delight after the news of the honor was declared. "Since 2005 initially I started as the PhD student under him and later I was switched to Assistant Prof and since then both of us are collaborating with the project especially the chickpea project. It's a great experience working with him because he actually started the chickpea programme in AAU after coming back from US," said Dr. Sumita Acharjee, Assistant Prof, Assam Agricultural University. "I was really excited working with him, it is a completely different thing came into northeast about transgenic. It is a wonderful experience," he added. Dr. Sarmah will hold the chair as a "National Professor" initially for a period of five years and will receive a grant of Rs. 2.5 crores for conducting research on "development of cisgenic chickpea resistant to pod borers". (ANI)