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The ICAR-IISWC, Dehradun organized Parthenium Awareness Week from August 16 to 22, 2023 under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) of the institute. Under this week long programme, Parthenium awareness day was celebrated on August 22, 2023 in Phatyou and Ichhala Villages of Kalsi block, Dehradun, engaging a total of 80 participants including men, women and school going children. These villages are situated at an altitude of 1800 meter from above mean sea level. In this programme, various activities were performed and demonstrated to the participants, such as identification of Parthenium plants, safety measures for eradication of parthenium plants, such as masks, hand gloves, sanitizer, etc., biological control measures, such as the identification of the Mexican beetle (Zygogramma bicolorata), preparation of Parthenium compost etc. The event was started with the briefing by the programme coordinator, Dr Abimanyu Jhajhria, Scientist, Senior Scale (Agricultural Economics) on the importance of organizing Parthenium awareness programme. In the continuation, Dr Raman Jeet Singh, Senior Scientist (Agronomy), spoke about how the parthenium weed is impacting our cropland, humans, animals, and overall the ecosystem. He briefed upon effective physical, biological, and chemical management strategies for parthenium weed. He also explained how parthenium causes numerous diseases in humans and animals, as well as what steps should be taken to avoid these issues. He also talked about how Parthenium weed biomass before flowering can be used to make nutrient-rich compost. He also discussed the necessity of identifying natural competitors/enemies of parthenium weed in order to manage the weed ecologically. He also aware the attendees with his nice words regarding how parthenium can be safely used for many purposes, particularly in the soil and water conservation research. He enlightened the participants on how Parthenium weed can be used as green manure, live mulch, compost in organic and natural farming. Shri Prakash Singh, Senior Technical Officer talked on the importance of raising awareness about Parthenium weed and developing effective control strategies in both rural and urban areas.

The participants especially children also shared their thoughts and questions with the experts. Village Pradhan Sh. Sunil Kumar informed to scientists that this weed came to their village through sand brought from plain areas for the construction purpose. Dr. Abimanyu Jhajhria, proposed a vote of gratitude to the all participants at the end of the discussion. After that, with all the safety precautions, all participants physically eradicated the Parthenium plants growing in the vicinity of the village. In this occasion, a sand filter which was procured by Dr. Rama Pal, Scientist Senior Scale (Environmental Science) and team member of TSP, for water purification was also provided to villagers under Swatch Bharat Abhiyan programme for removing sand in the drinking water coming from natural spring. Sh. Hukum Singh, Technical Officer also contributed in organizing this program. The whole programme was organized under the active guidance of Dr. Gopal Kumar, Head, Division of Soil Science and Agronomy, Dr. M. Muruganandam, TSP Coordinator, and Dr. M. Madhu, Director of the institute.

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