Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural W (PAU) Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon is an internationally known personality of plant propagation, chiefly in maize improvement research. As Vice Chancellor, Dr Dhillon is doing his best for the university and trying to take the university to newer heights of success. In an interview with Daily Post correspondent Suman Jaitly, Dr Dhillon sheds light on a few topics. Following are the excerpts:
Is there reservation for children of farmers at the time of admissions in the university?
Supreme Court does not allow us to provide such seats for farmers’ children. But for the convenience of children of the farmers’, we have started a programme. We have started 6-year B Sc (Agriculture) which can be done after Class X.
PAU is facing a financial crisis. What are the plans to overcome the situation?
The problem of financial crisis is common across the country. Not only PAU but every university, organisation, and even many government and private institutes are suffering from the financial issues. So it’s not in the hands of anyone to get away from such issues. All we can do is to put our 100 per cent in whatever work we are doing.
PAU was given Rs 100 crore by the erstwhile Central government in the past but that fund was only used on renovation purpose and not on research purpose. What was the reason behind it?
Around Rs 22 crore were spent on equipment and around Rs 77 crore were spent on corpus funds. Central government gave Rs 100 crore for the infrastructure development. We were planning to rebuild the auditorium by spending Rs 7 crore on it but EFC meeting decided to spend Rs 8.50 crore on the auditorium, we built one of the best international guest house, food industry centre, bio-central lab as well.
Previously, kisan melas were conducted by PAU twice a year and these events were totally for farmers and farming as stalls were based on farming products. But now, stalls in kisan melas seem to related more about clothes, accessories, bikes, cars and more such things. What would you say in this regard?
Actually the thing is that today’s urban society gave more importance to machineries. The bikes and cars stalls are the way to welcome them in kisan melas, so that they could come and visit the stalls related to farming. It’s not the university which is least interested the setting up of stalls related to the farming but it’s the interest of humans that make us to do so.
We all are dependent on weather reports and weather forecasts and accordingly makes our schedule of whole day but last year during kisan mela, suddenly it started raining, which harmed the farmers in a big way. Were you all not aware about the rain?
Yes, we came to know about the rain before two hours but the date of kisan mela was decided by us from a long time and we were helpless also when we came to know about rain. But, never mind, risks should also be taken in life. So, we also took that risk on that day and were feeble also.
State government and PAU are focusing on crop diversification. What measures PAU is taking for the research work on diversified crops?
It’s basically depending on the funds given to the farmers. By growing paddy crop, the farmers can earn more. But it’s not always the same as it depends on rain, heavy rain can harms the paddy crop and on the other hand, less rain becomes beneficial for the crop. Mainly, the market supports the paddy crop to grow.
What are the recent developments of PAU regarding farming?
The recently developed varieties by PAU are as follows:
PBW 677: It is resistant to yellow rust and brown rust and matures in about 157 days. Its average grain yield is 22.4 q/acre.
PBW 725: It is resistant to yellow and brown rust. It matures in about 154 days. Its average grain yield is 22.9 q/acre. It possesses good grain quality characteristic.
PR 121: This is a medium maturity, high yielding variety of rice, resistant to all the 10 pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen. It matures in 140 days. Its average grain yield is 30.5 q/acre.
PR 124: It is lodging tolerant variety and gives 30.4 quintals of paddy per acre. It is resistant to all the ten pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen. It possesses long slender and translucent grains. It matures in 135 days after seeding.
CoPb 91: It is a mid maturing variety with an average cane yield of 410 q/acre, which is 12 per cent higher that Co 238. It is a good ratooner and tolerant to red rot disease.
Canola type gobhi sarson
GSC 7 : It has about 62 per cent oleic acid and less than 2 per cent erucic acid in oil. Its average yield is 8.9 q/acre. It has 40.5 per cent oil content and matures in 154 days.
PAU Kinnow-1: It is mid-season variety and matures in January. The fruits are low- seeded with 3-4 seeds per fruit as compared to 20 seeds of Kinnow. Yield of five year old Kinnow plant is 45 kg.
CH 27: Its average fruit yield of red ripe fruits is 96 q/acre. It is highly resistant to leaf curl virus. It is suitable for processing/powder making.
MH 27: First picking is possible 63 days after transplanting. Average fruit weight is 850 g and average yield is 88 q/acre. It is tolerant to Fusarium wilt and root knot nematodes. It has long shelf life and is suitable for distant transportation.
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