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The second mela in the series of Kisan melas organised by Punjab Agricultural university was held on Friday, Sept 8 at the Regional Research Station Ballowal Saunkhari. Farmers in large numbers thronged the one-day Kisan Mela and interacted with the agri experts, sought solutions to their queries, saw live demonstrations, purchased quality seeds, planting material and PAU farm publications.. The Mela was based on the theme “Vigayanak Kheti de Rang PAU de Kisan Melayan Sang

Sh. Jai Krishan Singh Rouri, honourable Deputy speaker, Punjab Legislative Assembly was invited as the chief guest of the mela. Inaugurating the mela, Mr Rouri said that the scientific and technological advancements of the Punjab Agricultural University have largely contributed in agricultural development of the Kandi region. He urged the farmers to maintain the soil quality of this region for having better future agricultural practices. He emphasized that the small and marginal farmers of the region may opt for food processing, value addition and self-marketing of farm produce to improve their livelihood. In his view, the Regional Research Station of Ballowal Saunkhri is doing a remarkable job in the development and dissemination of agricultural technologies suitable for the region. Apart from this, College of Agriculture has been established at the Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri which offers four year degree in the B.Sc. Agriculture and ensures job opportunities to the pass outs of this college.

Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice Chancellor, in his presidential remarks, called upon the farmers to choose seed varieties released by the university after years of research, use water and biofertilizers as per need, go for soil testing, adopt subsidiary occupations, pursue co-operative marketing and mechanization, and bank on the expert advice of the PAU scientists. Highlighting the information propogated about the latest agricultural technologies and recent advances in farm practices during the kisan melas, the vice chancellor urged the farmers to attend these Kisan Melas which are organized only to promote better agricultural practices in the state of Punjab. He impressed upon the farmers to opt for surface seeding technique to curb the problem of stubble burning which adversely affects the soil quality and hinders quality produce. He further asked the farmers to only settle for seeds and fungicides recommended by the university experts to avoid the retention of residue on the soil. He advised the farmers to cut down on unnecessary expenditure on farm inputs and social functions and invest in trainings related to agricultural marketing, thereby becoming self -reliant and increasing farm income. He asked the farmers to sow the seeds of gobi sarson, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables, domesticate milch animals and try the new farm models to reduce monthly expenditure and achieve better health.

Dr Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Director of Extension Education, PAU welcomed the dignitaries and the participating farmers and farm women. He advised the farmers against the use of outdated pesticides as they can spoil both the soil quality and the crop produce. At the same time stubble burning should be stopped as the latter can serve as organic fertilizer for the forthcoming crop, he emphasized. He advocated the use of latest crop varieties endorsed by the university scientists to have better crop yield. He asked the farmers to follow the field practices suggested by the PAU experts and exhorted the farmers to make judicious use of the limited resources like water, fertilizers and insecticides in order to reduce the expenses on farming and attain better health. He was all in favor of PAU’s monthly magazine Changi Kheti (Progressive Farming) and said that it should be subscribed by the farmers for getting latest information about agricultural practices recommended by the university. He encouraged the farmers to grow maize, gram and fodder varieties of crop in order to reap maximum profits. He hoped that the current mela would be useful in making agricultural practices more profitable.

Dr Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research, PAU briefly touched upon the research advancements made by the Punjab Agricultural University. He shared that the goal of the research carried out by the university is to create farm produce that has outstanding nutrient quality and encouraged the farmers to use crop varieties that have stood the test of times. He further revealed that the university is now reprioritizing its research in perspective of new challenges faced by the Punjab Agriculture with particular emphasis on depleting water resources and rising cost of cultivation etc. He exhorted the farmers to go for drone technology for pesticides and suggested the use of crop varieties like PBW826, PBW829, PBZinc 2 and PBW resistant starch 1.

Mrs Santosh Kataria, MLA, Balachaur who attended the mela as Guest of Honor remarked that the Kisan melas go a long way in improving the financial lot of farmers and would play a major role in fulfilling the dream of making our state ‘a true rangala Punjab’. Sh.Satnam Singh Jalalpur, Chairman, District Planning Board, SBS Nagar; Sh.Satnam Singh Jalwaha, Chairman, Improvement Trust SBS Nagar; Sh.Navjotpal Singh Randhawa, DC, S.B.S Nagar, Sh. Jai Krishan Singh Rouri, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Legislative Assembly; S. Harpreet Singh Kahlon, State Secretary, Punjab and observer, Gadhshankar Vice Chancellor, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal; Dr Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Director of Extension Education, PAU and some other men of eminence were present at memento giving ceremony of the mela. Dr. Tejinder Singh Riar, Additional Director Communication, Communication Centre, PAU, Ludhiana enthusiastically conducted the stage while introducing all the speakers in an interesting manner.

Dr Kanwar Barjinder Singh, Director, RRS, Ballowal Saunkhari while proposing the vote of thanks, shed light on the activities of RRS, Ballowal Saunkhri and new crop varieties, released by PAU. He thanked the government of Punjab and PAU administration for founding the College of Agriculture at Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri. Dr Manmohanjit Singh, Dean, PAU – CoA, Ballowal Saunkhri also delineated the activities of the newly constructed College of Agriculture and disclosed how it was a successful venture. More and more students were now seeking admissions in specialized agricultural courses and would be able to get good jobs thereafter.

The kisan mela at Ballowal Saunkhri was a big hit and everyone present participated with great zeal and eagerness to upgrade their farming skills. A variety of small stalls were set up by different departments of PAU so that the visiting farmers could interact with scientists and know about the newly released crop varieties and latest technologies. The subject matter experts informed the farmers about the new varieties of wheat in the technical sessions and exhorted the farmers to buy the available fruit/vegetable seeds. The students of the College of Agriculture, Ballowal Saunkri gave a bewitching bhangra performance. The fresh air and the enchanting atmosphere of the place was a cherry on the cake. Everyone went back contented looking forward to achieve excellent results from what all they had learnt during the mela.

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