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PAU Kisan Mela Inaugurated; Punjab Govt Plans Installation of 90,000 Solar Pumps Statewide

Dr Khush, who was the guest of honour and accompanied by his wife Harwant Kaur Khush, hailed the enthusiastic participation of the farmers, farm women and youths in the mela.

Shivam Dwivedi
PAU Kisan Mela Inaugurated; Punjab Govt Plans Installation of 90,000 Solar Pumps Statewide
PAU Kisan Mela Inaugurated; Punjab Govt Plans Installation of 90,000 Solar Pumps Statewide

Numerous farmers from Punjab and adjoining states thronged the two-day Kisan Mela which kicked off at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on March 14, 2024. The mela theme "Kheti Naal Saahaaik Dhanda, Parivaar Sukhi Munafa Changa" aimed at developing entrepreneurial sense and boosting family earnings through on-farm and off-farm ventures. The sale of quality and improved seed as well as planting material, farm literature, processed products and apparels; agro-industrial exhibition; live field demonstrations; question-answer session and cultural programme enticed the farmers and their families.

Agriculture Min Announces Installation of 90,000 Solar Pumps at PAU Kisan Mela

The chief guest Sardar Gurmeet Singh Khuddian, Agriculture Minister, Punjab, while inaugurating the mela, stated, “PAU has played a monumental role in steering Green Revolution and economic growth via the development of quality seed, suitable crop varieties and their matching technologies; fine-tuning the dexterities of the rural community; and flourishing with commitment to support Punjab’s peasants, thus, fostering a prosperous and successful tomorrow.”

Bemoaning the rash decision of the Punjabi youths to run off shores after spending a hefty amount of Rs 30 lakh, the minister suggested launching their enterprises in the state with a small amount of Rs 3-4 lakh. He expressed utmost concern over the pitiable condition of the youths, migrating to other countries and finding it difficult to make ends meet abroad.

Further, he advised the farmers to go in for diversification through the cultivation of pulses, maize, and subsidiary occupations like animal husbandry; as well as in-situ and ex-situ management of crop residue to curb straw ablaze. Elaborating, Sardar Khuddian disclosed that the Punjab government was set to install 90,000 solar pumps across the state to supply electricity to the farmers. Calling the Kisan Melas as Vardaan (Blessing) for the farmers, the Minister lauded the towering agricultural scientists Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, a World Food Prize Laureate and famously known as “Paddy Daddy,” as well as Sardar GS Dhillon, PAU alumnus, for donating Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 37 lakh, respectively, to the University for boosting agricultural education.

Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, observed that this mela has received an overwhelming response not only from the farmers of Punjab but also of the other states comprising Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. “The University developed wheat variety ‘PBW 826’ has done wonders across India,” he divulged, while adding that similarly rice varieties ‘PR 126’ and ‘PR 131’ have also emerged as the top preference of the farmers. Severe water crisis, weather disturbances, environmental pollution, and diminishing natural as well as financial resources have prompted experts to give a clarion call for agricultural and economic sustainability, he remarked.

Furthermore, Dr Gosal urged the farmers to undertake a self-reliant entrepreneurial journey in addition to agriculture, thus, paving the way for overall socio-economic empowerment. Expressing his deep gratitude to the Punjab government for the additional allocation of Rs 40 crore to the PAU, Dr Gosal said that the allotted amount would enable the refurbishment of the research-based and other infrastructure in the agri-varsity.

Denoting the research achievements, Dr AS Dhatt, Director of Research, shed light on the noteworthy developments comprising new crop varieties, namely Pusa Basmati 1847 of basmati, J 1008 of fodder maize, PCB 167 of bajra and Punjab China 1 of proso millet; food processing technologies such as high protein soy powder and extruded snacks prepared using millets (cookies, cake, muffins, bread, pasta, porridge, rass, pinni, gachak, panjiri, roti, pranatha, flakes, etc.); value-added products from flowers; and farm machinery like remote-based Paddy Transplanter and UAV-based drone for spraying.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr MS Bhullar, Director of Extension Education, said that PAU’s manifold contribution to empower farmers, women and youths through extensive training in agriculture and its subsidiary occupations, has been recognized and treasured at the state as well as the national level. Proficiency in beekeeping, mushroom growing, nutritional kitchen garden, protected cultivation, agro-processing and value addition, animal husbandry (dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery and goatry), and women-centric occupations (bakery and confectionery, garment embellishment, handicrafts, etc.), has the potential to transform the rural livelihoods, he stated.

Dr GPS Sodhi, Additional Director of Extension Education, while proposing a vote of thanks, said that this University was poised to take new initiatives via artificial intelligence and social media to support the small, marginal and big farmers; and curb their distress by uplifting them socially and financially.

Conducting the programme, Dr TS Riar, Additional Director of communication, called upon the farmers to connect with PAU via University website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, PAU Kisan App and other WhatsApp groups. The PAU was in the process of specifying new benchmarks by undertaking novel endeavours, promoting empowerment at grassroot level and bolstering the agrarian economy.

On the occasion, a coffee table book entitled “Skilling Young and Old Punjab: PAU’s Colossal Feat,” authored by Sheetal Chawla, Assistant Director (Publications), was released on the occasion. This book has been brought out under the leadership of Dr Gosal; and the guidance of Dr Riar and Dr Poonam Sachdev, Principal Food Technologist. Besides, a set of PAU publications and calendar was also released by the chief guest.

Progressive Farmers & Scientists Awarded

Six progressive farmers were felicitated at the mela. Sardar Dhana Singh from village Ugrahan, district Sangrur; and Sardar Jagtar Singh from village Arayan Wala Kalan, district Faridkot, were conferred with “Chief Minister Awards” for excellence in horticulture. Sardar Ranjit Singh Bajwa from village Fatehullapur, district Hoshiarpur, was feted with “Chief Minister Award” for making strides in crop production and subsidiary occupations. Two “CRI Pump Awards” were presented to farmers, namely Sardar Taranjit Singh from Bugra village, district Hoshiarpur; and Sardar Randhir Singh Bhullar from Salana Jiwan Singh Wala village, district Fatehgarh Sahib, for emerging as role models in farm mechanization and organic cultivation, respectively.

Sardar Gulzar Singh from village Beas, district Jalandhar, was awarded “CRI Pump Award” posthumously for adopting water management technologies. Besides, one farm woman, namely Smt Manjit Kaur from Nila Naloya village, Hoshiarpur district, was honoured “Sardarni Prakash Kaur Sra Memorial Award” for excelling in entrepreneurship. Prior to this, Sardar Balkar Singh from village Sawal, district Kapurthala, was awarded “Jathedar Gurdita Singh Mahal Memorial Award” during the Kisan Mela, held at the Regional Research Station, Bathinda.

Six PAU scientists were awarded certificates for making untiring efforts for the upliftment of agriculture and allied fields. These included Dr Tarundeep Kaur Dhaliwal, Principal Agronomist; Dr Bikramjit Singh, Associate Director, KVK Amritsar; Dr RS Chhina, Prof of Agricultural Engineering, KVK, Gurdaspur; Dr Rjainder Singh, Associate Director (Seeds); Dr Kulbir Singh, Principal Olericulturist; and Dr Gurupkar Singh, Senior Fruit Biotechnologist. The members of the PAU Board of Management, namely Kiranjit Kaur Gill, Sardar HS Ghaznipur and Sardar Amandeep Singh Brar were present on the occasion.

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