Prof. Debi Prasad Ray, Chancellor of the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) Deemed to be University, passed away here on Saturday after a brief illness.

Prof. Ray, 73, was ailing for some time and was under treatment at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital.

Prof. Ray, who served as Vice-Chancellor of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar, for two terms, was associated with SOA for a long time and was the Principal Advisor to the SOA Founder President, Prof. Manojranjan Nayak before taking over as Chancellor of the university on March 1, 2022.

Prof. Nayak visited IMS and SUM Hospital after being informed about Prof. Ray’s demise and paid his last respects to the departed soul. “Prof. Ray was a noble soul and had greatly contributed to SOA’s growth,” he said in a condolence message.

SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. P.K. Nanda said Prof. Ray was regarded as a father figure and a guide and his passing away was a huge loss for the university.

Prof. Ray pioneered the establishment of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences under SOA which became the first such institute to be set up in the private domain in the entire eastern and north-eastern region. He subsequently helped in setting up of the Institute of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry under SOA.

Born on August 15, 1949, Prof. Ray completed his B.Sc. (Agriculture) from OUAT in 1971 and did his M.Sc (Agriculture) from Calcutta University. He secured his Ph.D from the same university in 1981.

After serving as Assistant Professor, Horticulture, in Calcutta University he worked as Associate Professor at OUAT. He handled several responsibilities including Associate Director (Research), Professor and Head of Department, Horticulture, Dean of Extension Education and Registrar in the same university before being appointed as Vice-Chancellor of OUAT in 2006. He continued in office till 2012.

Prof. (Dr.) Ray’s research areas included enhancement of fruit and plantation crops, orchard efficiency management, varietal and nutritional improvement, water management, propagation techniques, post harvest management of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and improvement of vegetables.

                Having guided more than fifty post-graduate and Ph.D students, he had more than 200 scientific papers published in journals of national and international repute.                

Prof. (Dr.) Ray served as chairman of several national committees of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Planning Commission of Government of India.