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In celebration of agricultural innovation and progress, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, hosted the third edition of its Kisan Mela at the Regional Research Station in Gurdaspur. Under the theme “Vigayanak Kheti de Rang PAU de Kisan Melayan Sang,” the event welcomed distinguished Chief Guest, Shri Lal Chand Kataruchak, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Forestry, marking a day dedicated to elevating farming practices.

Prominent among the dignitaries of the day were Sh. Raman Bahl, Chairman, Punjab Health System Corporation, Govt. of Punjab; Sh. Shamsher Singh Dinanagar, President, Aam Aadmi Party, Gurdaspur Urban; Sh. Rajiv Sharma Chairman, Improvement Trust, Gurdaspur; S. Hardayal Singh Gaznipur Member, Board of Management, PAU; Dr. Himanshu Aggarwal, IAS Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur; Shri Harish Dayama, SSP, Gurdaspur and S. KS Dhillon, Chief Agriculture Officer; Deans and Directors of PAU.

In his address, the Chief Guest lauded PAU’s unwavering commitment to Gurdaspur’s farmers, recognizing their pivotal role in diversification and timely guidance. Additionally, he announced the development of the region as a prominent agro- tourism belt with Pathankot, Hari Ke pattan, Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi as the pivotal areas to attract tourists. Shri Kataruchak announced the construction of two processing centres, litchi and kinnow at Pathankot and Abohar respectively for giving thrust to value addition of farm- produce. The Minister praised the farmers’ footfall at the mela and exhorted them to maintain a stable connection with the research stations and the university for ensuring scientific and profitable agriculture. Highlighting the idea of ‘Rangla Punjab’ promoted by the government, he underscored the importance of embracing new techniques and cutting expenditure in order to ensure progress of the farming fraternity.

Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, emphasized the status of the Regional Research Station in Gurdaspur as a cornerstone of crucial research even before the university came into existence. He urged farmers to embrace PAU-recommended crop varieties and to employ fertilizers judiciously. Dr. Gosal also underscored the urgency of curbing stubble burning due to its adverse effects on soil health and air quality. He further reiterated the need for adopting PAU farm literature to give proper direction to the farmers on field. Dr Gosal advised the sowing of PAU wheat variety, PBW 826, PR 126 of paddy, as well as mustard. He encouraged surface seeding of wheat owing to its economic efficacy and shortened inter crop time interval. Implementation of the Integrated farming model for self-sustenance as well as income generation was also suggested by the Vice Chancellor. He also championed the cause of inspiring the youth to embrace farming, taking admission in the University Agriculture Institute at Gurdaspur, thereby rejuvenating agriculture in the region.

Sh. Raman Bahl, Chairman, Punjab Health System Corporation, Govt. of Punjab, in his address outlined the cause of farmers as pivotal to the country’s progress. Pointing towards the marginal farmers of the region, Shri Bahl highlighted the need to promote agri- tourism to help develop an alternate means of income generation instead of relying on the challenges ridden cropping pattern. He exhorted the farmers for their agility and resilience in the face of damage caused by the recent floods.

PAU Board of Management Member, Sardar Hardyal Singh Gaznipur voiced concern over the exploitation of farmers by the dealers and selling of spurious seeds and non-recommended pesticides. He urged the farmers to be cautious about the source of advice and motivated them to keep a strong alliance with the scientists of PAU.

Earlier, Dr. Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research at PAU, showcased the institution’s extensive research legacy, with the development of over 940 crop varieties. Farmers were encouraged to opt for the improved seeds recommended by the university while remaining mindful of the depleting water table and other natural resources. Dr. Dhatt laid special emphasis on the newly developed varieties, Punjab Chapati 1, and RS, a wheat variety suitable for diabetics as well as PBW Zinc-2 variety fortified with the essential mineral. Apart from chickpea type PBG-10 and cooked peas type IPFD-12, maize type J-1008 was also highlighted by Dr. Dhatt. In production techniques, he suggested harvesting with a combine harvester for surface seeding, Apart from this, while sharing new recommendations about chickpea weed control and wheat weed control in plant protection techniques, the director also gave information about agricultural machinery.

The event commenced with a warm welcome from PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr GS Buttar who hailed farmers as the lifeblood of the University and expressed gratitude for their support that positioned PAU as the Number One University among 63 state agricultural universities of the country.

Dr. TS Riar, Additional Director of Communication, orchestrated the program, urging the farming community to stay connected through the University’s mobile app and farm literature.

Dr Bhupinder Singh Dhillon, Director, PAU, RRS, Gurdaspur proposed the formal vote of thanks.

The mela highlight included the honouring of 12 progressive farmers shortlisted by the university, vis a vis, Sardar Sajanpreet Sandhu, Village Sunayia, Batala; Advocate Karanpal Singh Cheema, village Bariar; Shri Vijay Kumar, Village Chaunta; S. Hardev Singh, Village Haruwal; Smt Kanta Rani, Village, Ghurala; S. Malkit Singh, Village Marar; S. Bikramjit Singh, Village Mahadev Khurd; S. Kaushal Singh, Village, Sallopur; S. Pritpal Singh, Village Bidhipur; S. Harnek Singh, Village Aalma, S. Daljit Singh, Village Kailankalan and S. Jaspinder Singh, Village Tugalwal.

The Kisan Mela featured an array of stalls displaying improved seeds, fertilizers, farm implements, and literature, attracting a significant turnout of farmers from the Gurdaspur region. Experts from various departments shared valuable insights into effective farming techniques and cutting-edge crop production methods. Field demonstrations and agro-industrial exhibitions proved to be crowd favorites.

Dr. Bhupinder Singh Dhillon, Director of PAU Regional Research Station in Gurdaspur, expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor and all dignitaries for their unwavering dedication to bringing University research directly to the farmers’ doorstep. The event marked a significant stride towards advancing agricultural knowledge and practices in the region, symbolizing a commitment to the future of farming excellence.

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