The Chief Guest Mr K.S. Pannu, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board and PAU alumnus, raised concern over water issues and air pollution in Punjab. He said, “Farmers alone are not to be blamed for the crisis, some government policies are equally responsible for the same. Punjab is paying a heavy price for feeding the nation and making it food secure, particularly, through paddy (water consuming crop) cultivation.”Pannu also expressed concern over the wastage of water through RO system, which is expensive as well as finishes iron, manganese and calcium present in the water during usage. “RO system is needed only in 20 per cent area of Punjab, especially in Bathinda and Abohar,” he added.
Stating that the smoke emerging from straw burning engulfed the entire state and the national capital Delhi, he urged the farmers to use PAU developed technologies Happy Seeder and PAU Super Straw Management System for its management. There are 10,000 combine harvesters in Punjab and it has been made mandatory to attach Super SMS system to these machines for use during next year, he informed. Voicing concern over farm suicides, Mr Pannu called upon the farmers to adopt simplicity in life and be disciplined citizens.
Prof Purnendu Biswas, Vice-Chancellor, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, was the guest of honour.Dr Ashok Kumar, Assistant Director General (Animal Health), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), who was also the guest of honour, thanked the farmers of Punjab stating, “In 1960s, food grains were imported, but now food grains are exported. The credit for this goes to you.” The present agriculture scenario needs to do away with the dependence on monoculture of wheat-paddy, he observed, while stressing on diversifying fields, using water judiciously, stopping of residue burning and enhancing the use of organic manures.
The Guest of Honour, Dr Konstantin A. Malashenkov, Counsellor (Agriculture), Embassy of Russian Federation, said, “I visited PAU in 2007. Both the countries share 70 years of successful partnership in diverse areas.” Impressed by PAU’s research, he said it will benefit the farmers of Punjab as well as India. In his remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said, “Farm suicides should not happen.” According to the Central Government’s survey, the agriculture household income in Punjab is Rs 16,300 per month whereas in Haryana, it is Rs 10,900 per month, he divulged. The mela theme “cut farm expenditure, use water and fertilizers wisely; adopt subsidiary occupations, augment farm profits significantly” aims at exhorting the farmers to use inputs as per need and earn profits by venturing in beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, grading and packaging, and other agri-related enterprises. In 2016, in cotton, pesticides were saved to the tune of Rs 54 crore, he revealed.
Dr Navtej Singh Bains, Director of Research, PAU, highlighted the characteristics of newly developed varieties namely PR 127 of rice, Pusa Basmati 1637 of basmati rice, AL 882 of arhar and several others. He expressed happiness over the acceptance of short duration varieties among the farmers of Punjab. The use of integrated pest control is being emphasized upon a lot as it requires less water and fewer pesticides, he added. Dr J.S. Mahal, while delivering his welcome address, said Kisan Melas are knowledgeable as they equip the farmers with the need-based technical information. Urging the farmers to read PAU farm literature, he said each and every word is written after thorough testing and trial. Dr Dhillon honoured the chief guest and three guests of honour with shawls and mementos, and presented them saplings of plants and sets of PAU publications.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook