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Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa

In the imperial Gazetteer of India 1878, Pusa was recorded as a government estate of about 1350 acres in Darbhanba. It was acquired by East India Company for running a stud farm to supply better breed of horses mainly for the army. Frequent incidence of glanders disease (swelling of glands), mostly affecting the valuable imported bloodstock made the civil veterinary department to shift the entire stock out of Pusa. A British tobacco concern Beg Sutherland & co. got the estate on lease but it also left in 1897 abandoning the government estate of Pusa. Lord Mayo, The Viceroy and Governor General, had been repeatedly trying to get through his proposal for setting up a directorate general of Agriculture that would take care of the soil and its productivity, formulate newer techniques of cultivation, improve the quality of seeds and livestock and also arrange for imparting agricultural education. The government of India had invited a British expert. Dr. J. A. Voelcker who had submitted as report on the development of Indian agriculture. As a follow-up action, three experts in different fields were appointed for the first time during 1885 to 1895 namely, agricultural chemist (Dr. J. W. Leafer), cryptogamic botanist (Dr. R. A. Butler) and entomologist (Dr. H. Maxwell Lefroy) with headquarters at Dehradun (U.P.) in the forest Research Institute complex. Surprisingly, until now Pusa, which was destined to become the centre of agricultural revolution in the country, was lying as before an abandoned government estate. In 1898. Lord Curzon took over as the viceroy. A widely traveled person and an administrator, he salvaged out the earlier proposal and got London’s approval for the appointment of the inspector General of Agriculture to which the first incumbent Mr. J. Mollison (Dy. Director of Agriculture, Bombay) joined in 1901 with headquarters at Nagpur The then government of Bengal had mooted in 1902 a proposal to the centre for setting up a model cattle farm for improving the dilapidated condition of the livestock at Pusa estate where plenty of land, water and feed would be available, and with Mr. Mollison’s support this was accepted in principle. Around Pusa, there were many British planters and also an indigo research centre Dalsing Sarai (near Pusa). Mr. Mollison’s visits to this mini British kingdom and his strong recommendations. In favour of Pusa as the most ideal place for the Bengal government project obviously caught the attention for the viceroy.

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