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With spike in paddy residue burning cases, extension functionaries of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) were asked to take the matter seriously in the light of recent snubbing by the top court of India.

Chairing the 21st meeting of the Extension Council, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), called upon the extension scientists to pull their socks up and work harder to stop wheat stubble burning cases which have equally risen during the last few years. “Wheat sowing has commenced in Punjab. Go from village to village; organize awareness camps and bring out rallies at village, block and district levels; and issue advisories regarding wheat stubble management at the time of wheat harvesting,” said PAU VC to scientists. Lamenting the spike in paddy straw burning cases in November, Dr Gosal called for eradicating it completely for the well-being of humanity.

“Eliminating stubble burning is a serious challenge,” observed Registrar Mr Rishi Pal Singh, while stating that the matter called for more collective and concerted efforts in order to put a full stop to it. Urging the scientists to continue with their dedicated efforts, he remarked, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Dr AS Dhatt, Director of Research, stressed on promoting crop diversification by encouraging farmers to switch over to alternate crops such as pulses, oilseeds, maize, fruits, vegetables and flowers which offered remunerative returns due to their growing consumption at the commercial as well as the domestic levels. The demand for horticultural crops was escalating in the market and held immense potential to sustain the livelihood of the small, marginal and big farmers, he stated.

In his welcome remarks, Dr GS Buttar, Director of Extension Education, while presenting the action taken report, informed that PAU scientists in collaboration with state line departments and the University students were putting in best efforts to educate the farmers regarding stubble management. Although the number of cases has come down as compared to previous years, yet still scientists need to give a little more push to completely wipe it out, he said. The meeting also saw discussions on diverse aspects of fruit cultivation, he told.

Dr GPS Sodhi, Additional Director of Extension Education, proposed a vote of thanks.

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