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Hyderabad, Feb. 2

HIGHLIGHTING the role of nuclear technology in agriculture, food and health, the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Dr Anil K. Kakodkar, on Thursday said that preservation of food using irradiation has gained utility in the country.

He said that the Union Government has cleared several items for radiating processing. Using the techniques developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), food irradiation plants are being set up, he said while delivering the 37th convocation address of the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), here.

Two plants using low dose for applications and high dose have been set up by the DAE. Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been signed with 14 private entrepreneurs, including one in Andhra Pradesh. Of these, four plants have been commissioned, while others are at various stages of development, Dr Kakodkar said.

Giving examples of the role of nuclear technology, he said a black gram variety TAU1 developed by the BARC scientists, today, covers 95 per cent of the area under black gram cultivation in Maharashtra. Similarly, the

mung

variety, which is resistant to disease, is very popular.

A new

mung

variety, jointly developed and evaluated by BARC and ANGRAU, is being recommended for rice fallows.

The DAE plans to increase collaborations with universities and institutions in new research initiatives that are relevant for the country in these areas.

The Vice-Chancellor of ANGRAU, Dr S. Raghu Vardhan Reddy, in his annual performance report said the university has provided alternate and contingency crop plans to suit the erratic climatic conditions during the year.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 3, 2006)
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