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Held amidst much fervor and enthusiasm today, the heavy footfall of farmers and agricultural enthusiasts marked the success of the foremost Kisan Mela at KVK Nag Kalan, Amritsar. Inaugurating the Mela, the Chief Guest of the day, Vice Chancellor of PAU, Dr Sabir Singh Gosal stated that “saving the water resource of Punjab is the foremost duty of the Punjabis today”. He further highlighted the issues of crop residue management and judicious use of water as the priority areas in research and its adoption by farmers. While addressing the farmers he solicited the support and cooperation of both urban and rural areas in saving the state from becoming a desert. He exhorted the farmers to use short duration varieties, use biofertilizers and work on diversification of farm incomes. On the issue of stubble burning, the Chief Guest briefed about the visible dangers posed to human health by burning crop stubble and sought attention to the invisible annihilation of the soil microorganisms that takes place due to the heat generated in the soil during burning of residue. This, he reiterated, depletes the soil of its nutrients, thereby affecting agricultural productivity. He advised the farmers to use the new technology propogated by the University called surface seeding to tackle the problem of stubble burning.

PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, further, urged the farmers who have come from far-off places to visit the demonstration plots and exhibits put up by the University after years of research, and revert with their honest feedback after adopting the recommended varieties, techniques and literature in their respective fields. In his welcome address, Dr Gosal said that PAU-farmers share an exemplary linkage with the farmers, since 1967. Emphasizing on the need to ride the digitization wave, he disclosed that 11 lakh farmers are connected with the University through social media platforms like Facebook, Whatspp and Youtube. “Varieties PBW 826 of wheat and PR 126 of rice, developed by PAU, have carved niche,” he divulged, while advising the farmers to enhance the area under these varieties as they are developed keeping in mind the changing climatic conditions for better yield and profitability. “For the first time, PAU has developed potato varieties, namely Punjab Potato 101 and Punjab Potato 102,” he told, adding that more than 300 agro-processing units have been set up in Punjab with the technical support of PAU. Since, the Majha belt dominates in Basmati cultivation, Dr Gosal advised the farmers to use University recommended seed and fungicides to prevent residue retention. Pointing towards reasonable agricultural income even during the olden days, he termed excessive and avoidable expenditure by farmers on farm inputs and social functions as the chief reason for lack of saving. Dr Gosal exhorted the audience to reap double benefits of controlled expenditure in the form of improved soil health and more savings. He explained how farmers’ health depends on soil health which in turn decides the farmers’ fortune. He also suggested to adopt custom hiring of agri-machinery during the forthcoming paddy harvest.

He further stated that since the inception of kisan melas in 1967, the University for the first time served as a befitting interface between farmers and the Punjab Government through the first Kisan Milni. The University collected the suggestions of the farmers and forwarded it to the government officials so that a farmer focused agricultural policy can be formulated by the Punjab Government. He also announced the Email Id at which the farmers can send their problems and suggestions which can be voiced to the government.

Earlier, while welcoming the dignitaries Dr Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Director of Extension Education, PAU, Ludhiana, presented a bouquet to the Chief Guest. In his welcome address he urged the farmers to use varieties recommended by the University and prefer those varieties that are time-effecient. While divulging about Basmati variety, he recommended the use of techniques used in organic farming sector. He further insisted upon the adoption of integrated farming model as it is economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Dr Butter further, urged the farmers to increase the farm income through viable subsidiary sources of income. While delineating about the importance of knowledge assimilation in practical farming, he referred to the University publications as reliable sources for enhancing farm knowledge.

Dr Kiranjot Kaur Sidhu, Dean, College of Community Science accorded a floral welcome to Dr Satinder Kaur Majithia.

Also speaking on the occasion was Mr Jatinder Singh Gill, Chief Agriculture Officer divulged the pilot projects on Basmati being heeded by the Punjab Government. He urged the farmers to participate in these projects to avail maximum benefits from the same. He exhorted the farmers to restrain from stubble burning to save the soil and environment of Punjab.

On this occasion, the subject matter experts catered to the queries of the farmers and apprised them of the University varieties and advisories that should be followed religiously by the stakeholders. Dr Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research, PAU briefly delineated the research achievements of the University. He asserted that the University is now focusing on the nutrient quality of the farm produce. The University has approved a new wheat variety PBWRS1 for the diabetic patients, a new Maize hybrid variety, two new varieties of dragon fruit, two new varieties of potato, a new hybrid variety of salad, a new variety of eggplant, Punjab Khushboo- a new variety of Dhaniya, PBG 16 for beans etc. The University is also working to promote products that allow the growth of plants and vegetables without any sprays and insecticides. Besides, the University is also focusing on processing technologies in the field of potato, honey, mushroom etc. Finally, he recommended the farmers to use varieties that are time-efficient and produce-effective as advised by the University specialists.

Progressive farmers S. Kabil Singh, S. Major Paramjit Singh Sandhu, S. Gurbir Singh, S. Mandeep Singh, S. Balbir Singh, S. Angrez Singh, Sardani Kulwinder Kaur, S. Harbans Singh, S. Sukhraj Singh were also awarded at the function.

Special invitees Dr Satinder Kaur Majithia and Dr P L Mehta Retd. Faculty, PAU were also felicitated with a token of appreciation by the Worthy Vice Chancellor.

Dr Bikramjit Singh, Deputy Director, KVK, Amritsar while proposing the vote of thanks, expressed gratitude to the Chief Guest, worthy Vice Chancellor Dr S S Gosal for sparing his valuable time for the occasion. He also expressed his heartfelt thanks to special guests Dr Satinder Kaur Majithia and Dr Ashok Kumar, former Director of Extension Education for gracing the function.

While conducting the function, Dr T S Riar, ADC, PAU urged the farmers to engage in a fruitful dialogue with the University specialists.

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