Friday, September 21, 2012



A sea of farmers, from across the Punjab state, thronged the Kisan Mela at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. A two-day mela, showcasing latest farm technologies for forthcoming rabi season, aims at creating awareness among the farmers about the conservation of air, water and soil health trough its theme "Pawan Guru Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahatt." The Nuffield scholars from Australia also participated in the mela.

Speaking on this occasion, the chief guest S. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Minister of Punjab Public Works Department (PWD), lauded the vigorous efforts of the PAU for feeding the entire nation. He said that the PAU has produced genious minds who have brought laurels to the university as well as the state in the international arena. Tracing the history, S. Dhillon recalled "During post-partition, India was facing the shortage of food grains and was absolutely dependent on foreign nations. But the untiring efforts of the Punjab farmers as well as the university experts transformed the nation from food-deficit to food-surplus. The then Prime Minister of India, Sh. Lal Bahadur Shastri raised slogans "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" to encourage the farmers to produce more and army to defend the nation." Highlighting that the prime focus of the State Government is on making agriculture a profitable venture, he urged the farmers to adopt diversified farming in this regard. The decision to set-up Directorate of Maize Research at Ludhiana will benefit the farmers, he said, while congratulating the state farmers for producing good paddy crop inspite of the drought. He remarked that the State Government is committed to provide the needed support in form of free electricity to the farmers. He also urged the university to educate the farmers not to be misled by private dealers regarding the use of agro-chemicals. He further said that the University\'s annual budget has been increased from Rs.93 crores to Rs.190 crores which will strengthen its research, teaching and transfer of technology programmes.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the huge rush of farmers in the mela is a testimony of their faith in PAU. The university was first to start "Kisan Mela" in 1967 which over the year has become an important occasion for the exchange of information and feedback between farmers and scientists. Throwing light on the theme of mela, Dr Dhillon urged the farmers to make efficient use of water by using on-farm water saving technologies like the use tensiometer, laser land leveler, etc. It is vital to maintain soil health by using farm yard manure, compost and recommended bio-fertilizers, emphasized he, while advising the farmers to make judicious use of agro-chemicals and not to indulge in stubble burning. Value addition and processing are also essential for income enhancement. In order to motivate youth to opt agriculture as profession, the university is planning to introduce short- term vocational courses, added he.

The Associate Director of Research, Dr P.S. Chahal highlighted that the PAU has evolved/recommended 707 improved varieties/hybrids of different crops, of which, 117 have been recommended at national level. He suggested the farmers to make use of resource conservation technologies like leaf colour chart for the need-based nitrogen fertilizer application in wheat, rice and maize. Dr Chahal told that the university has recently released two new varieties including wheat "PBW 644" and sunflower hybrid "PSH 996." In addition to the emphasis on net-house cultivation of vegetables, such as brinjal, chillies and peas, the university is laying thrust on subsidiary occupations like mushroom cultivation and bee-keeping and on developing varieties which require less water and have resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Earlier, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, welcomed the chief guest, dignitaries and the visiting farmers. He said that the objective of the mela is to disseminate advanced agri-technologies to the farmers through their interaction with the university scientists at different stalls. The number of farmers in the mela is ever on the increase. He told that 17 Krishi Vigyan Kendras, 12 Farm Advisory Service Scheme and more than 6000 PAU Doots are in the service of the farmers for trainings, field demonstrations and redressal of their agrarian issues.

The members of PAU Board of Management, S. Hardev Singh Riar and Mrs Urwinder Kaur Grewal shared their views with the farmers. Saying that the agriculture is the mainstay of Punjab's economy, S. Riar said that if farmers suffer, the state as well as country also suffers. He stressed the need to impart training to the private sellers of pesticides/fertilizers. Mrs Grewal emphasized on promoting agri-diversification and urged the rural population to encourage their children to work in fields and shun social evils like female foeticide and use of drugs.

The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Dr V.K. Taneja inaugurated the agro-industrial exhibition in the morning. He took the round of various stalls, put up in the mela and saw field demonstrations. A special question-answer session was organised today in which farmers sought solutions for their agri-queries.

On this occasion, five progressive framers were honoured by the chief guest and other dignitaries. Mangal Singh Nagra of village Kohla, district Jalandhar, was awarded "Parwasi Bharti Award 2012" while Mr Rajesh Behl of village Hayat, district Gurdaspur, was conferred with "Shri Ujagar Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award 2012." S. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon of village Rataul Rohi, district Ferozepur, was given "Sardar Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award 2012," whereas Ms. Karamjit Kaur of village Danewala, district Fazilka, was honoured with "State Awardee Sardarni Jagbir Kaur Memorial Innovative Woman Farmer Award 2012."S. Manjit Singh of village Nanokot, district Gurdaspur, was conferred with "Surjit Singh Dhillon Award 2012." Besides, Major Singh Toor and Dr P.S. Deol (former PAU Senior Extension Specialist) were awarded for donating Rs 50,000/- and Rs 25,000/- respectively to PAU Endowment Fund.

Former Punjab Minister, S. Hira Singh Gabria and Ludhiana MLA S.Ranjit Singh Dhillon were also present on this occasion.
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