Monday, July 8, 2013



A one-day "Research and Extension Specialists' Workshop for Soil and Water Conservation," was organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. The workshop was jointly organised by the PAU Directorate of Extension Education and Department of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC), Punjab. It was based on the theme," Newly Developed and Researched Technologies Proposed for Conservation and Recharging of Water in Non-Kandi Areas of Punjab."

The soil scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendras and PAU Regional Research Stations; Officers and representatives of the State Department of Soil and Water Conservation; and University deans, directors, additional directors, heads and faculty of various departments participated in the workshop.

Inaugurating the workshop, the Chief Guest, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, laid emphasis the conservation of air, water and soil health for posterity. "Due to rice-wheat monoculture in Punjab, there has been overuse and misuse of agro-chemicals, degradation of soil health, and depletion of underground water table," he pointed out. There is an urgent need to focus on the management of natural resources (soil and water) for farm sustainability, he stressed, while advising the experts to lay thrust on the propagation of micro-irrigation (saves water and increases output), and mulching technology. Stating that climatic variations and agro--ecology of India differs from other countries, Dr Dhillon called upon the farm experts to come up with new ideas and innovative agri-technologies to address various farm related issues of the country.

Er. Ajit Singh Sahota, Conservator of Soil, DSWC, Punjab, expressed concern over the issues of soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, low rainfall, brackish groundwater, least groundwater recharge, and declining soil health in Kandi and Non-Kandi areas of Punjab. He observed that the depleting water resources have increased the cost of cultivation, decreased the margins, and reduced groundwater charge due to scanty rainfall.

Presenting the research highlights, Dr J.S. Dhiman, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management), said that the PAU has recommended various resource conservation technologies such as laser land leveler, drip irrigation in potato, direct seeding of rice, tensiometer-based improved irrigation scheduling in rice, etc. Dr Dhiman further divulged that at present, more than 6000 laser land levelers are operational in the state.

Earlier, Dr R.S. Sidhu, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, and officiating Dean, College of Agriculture, welcomed the dignitaries and the participants. He said that the agriculture sector in the state is facing multi-dimensional problems. "The PAU has taken many initiatives which aim at improving the land and water use efficiency," he remarked.

Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, proposing the vote of thanks, said that the workshop will upgrade the knowledge of the scientists on soil and water conservation. All types of irrigation systems such as drip, sprinkler, and micro-irrigation systems require special focus, he observed, adding that the timely dissemination of farm knowledge to the farmers is vital.

During the two technical sessions held, the experts discussed the status of water table depth in Central districts of Punjab, micro-irrigation system for enhancing resource use efficiency, solar photo voltic pumping system-an alternate source of power for irrigation, water management in field crops, rational use of saline/sodic water for irrigation, soil conservation strategies for Kandi region of Punjab, etc.

On this occasion, an exhibition was put up by various departments of the PAU and the Regional Research Station, Bathinda, which highlighted different aspects of agriculture.

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