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Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana observed the 54th National Service Scheme (NSS) Day, focusing on the theme of ‘Plant Biodiversity Awareness.’ Collaborating with the departments of Forestry & NR and Plant Breeding & Genetics and sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-RAFTAAR, the event was part of the ‘Setting up of Model Genome Club in Punjab’ project.

The activities commenced on September 23rd with a substantial plantation drive at the University Seed Farm, Ladhowal. Over 400 traditional tree species were planted by enthusiastic NSS Volunteers, under the guidance of Head, Department of Forestry & NR and Dr. Harmeet Singh Saralch, Professor of Forestry cum Co- Principal Investigator of the Project. Simultaneously, a poster making and slogan writing competition took place at Dr. KS Aulakh Examination Hall, engaging around 400 NSS volunteers from different university colleges.

On September 24th, the Plant Biodiversity Awareness Program was held in the Pal Auditorium, featuring Dr. Pardeep Kumar Chhuneja as the Chief Guest. Dr. Chhuneja elucidated the origins of life on Earth, biological evolution, and the current biological diversity scenario. He encouraged NSS volunteers to dedicate themselves to national service during their academic journey.

Guest Speaker, Dr. Manjit Singh Mahal, emphasized biodiversity’s critical role and discussed the various threats it faces, underlining the importance of conservation efforts. Dr. Harmeet Singh Saralch elaborated on NSS’s genesis, objectives, and various activities conducted by the NSS Cell of PAU.

Several volunteers shared their insights during the event, underscoring the significance of biodiversity and the essence of National Service Day. A poster making and slogan writing competition winners were acknowledged and awarded certificates, focusing on ‘Plant Biodiversity’ and the success of Chandrayaan-3.

The event saw active participation from around 500 NSS volunteers from different colleges, all joining hands in promoting plant biodiversity awareness and national service. Notable attendees included; Dr Divya Utreja, Dr Mandeep Sharma, Dr Pushpinder Kaur Brar, Dr Sanjay Satpute, Dr Harpreet Singh and Dr Kausik Mandal program officers of different colleges and Dr. Jaswinder Singh Brar, Co-Principal Investigator of the project, among others. The whole program was coordinated by Dr Divya.

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