PAU HOLDS KISAN MELA AT GURDASPUR
GURDASPUR, SEPTEMBER 08--
The Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) held at the Regional Research Station,
Gurdaspur today, witnessed a heavy footfall. The Mela was inaugurated by S. Kulwant Singh
Ahluwalia, Member, Board of Management, while S. Gurloveleen Singh Sidhu, IAS, Deputy
Commissioner, Gurdaspur was the Guest of Honour and Dr Ashok Kumar, Director of Extension
Education, PAU, Ludhiana presided over the function. Dr D.S. Bhatti, Additional Director of
Extension Education, PAU, Dr K.S. Thind, Head of the Department, Plant Breeding and
Genetics, PAU and Dr Ram Sakal Singh, Director, Regional Research Station, Gurdaspur were
also present on the occasion.
In his inaugural address, the Chief Guest, S. Ahluwalia, greeted the gathering and said that the
prime objective of such pastoral fairs is two-way interaction between the agricultural scientists
and the farmers. Equating the kisan melas to knowledge-encapsulated events, he advocated a
two-pronged strategy for ensuring a lucrative agricultural enterprise, viz., reducing cost of
production and looking for better marketing avenues.
He elaborated that agricultural crisis of the modern times is due to spiraling cost of production
and high input costs. As a result, the farmer is debt-ridden and is undergoing dire stress. The
national per capita income of the farmer is only 40%, he added, which is in high contrast to non-
agricultural professions which stand at 2.5 times more than agriculture. Even in the matter of
horticultural crops with no MSP, the situation isn't any better, he explained. Therefore, he
suggested the adoption of new and recommended techniques for reducing the cost of production.
Similarly, S. Ahluwalia impressed upon the need to focus on marketing opportunities to save
agriculture. Towards the end, he lauded the role of PAU for the relentless efforts put in by its
scientists for serving the farming community.
The Guest of Honour, S. Gurloveleen Singh Sidhu drew attention to the matchless symbiotic
relationship between scientists and the farmers which these kisan melas have been able to
establish over a period of time. Commending the farmers for their regular inputs, he said they
aided in reprioritizing as well as reorienting research at PAU. He suggested the farmers that the
initial trials of new varieties be conducted on a small scale only and the results be shared with the
scientists. In addition to citing crop diversification as the way forward, he stated that subsidiary
activities like beekeeping, cultivating fruits and vegetables would be conducive for economic
sustainability. He further pointed out that mechanized farming and marketing facilitated by
cooperatives could result in drastically low input and labour costs. About indiscriminate use of
chemicals, he appealed the farmers to leave behind a good and healthy environment for posterity.
Delivering his presidential remarks, Dr Ashok Kumar cautioned against paddy stubble burning.
He said the plumes of smoke posed a great threat to environmental, human and soil health while
using it as compost can enhance soil fertility. Burning of paddy straw, he lamented, not only
causes environment pollution but also results in the loss of nutrients and microorganisms. He
revealed that PAU has developed many technologies for the management of paddy straw, for
instance, direct seeding of wheat crop in combine harvested standing stubbles by using Happy
Seeder, use of 'super straw management system' with combines for cutting and uniform
distribution of paddy straw, etc. Straw can also be incorporated in fields by using mould board
ploughs, he added. He advised that soil testing be done for monitoring nutrient deficiencies. Use
of biofertilizers plays a key role in maintaining soil health, he said. He also informed about the
Fruit Processing Industry and Incubation Centres at PAU, Ludhiana and Regional Research
Station, Bathinda for promotion of fruit and vegetable processing.
Dr K.S. Thind, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, dilated upon the
research highlights of the university. He divulged that PAU has released 816 varieties till date
and 173 of them have been recommended at the national level. He elaborated upon several new
varieties of seeds released by the university. Informing about improved technologies, he cited the
use of Biofertilizer Consortium to improve the seed variety, use of Happy Seeder instead of
paddy straw burning and also the use of Leaf Colour Chart to identify the exact amount of urea
required. Referring to future priorities, Dr Thind said that PAU’s research was focusing on
judicious use of water and on developing heat tolerant, pest resistant and mechanized harvestable
Dr D.S. Bhatti, Additional Director of Extension Education, PAU while welcoming the
dignitaries and the farmers, urged the farmers to follow PAU recommendations. He exhorted
them to attend trainings imparted at the seventeen KVKs of the university. Such trainings would
arm them with the latest knowledge to tackle the challenges which came in the form of weather,
weeds, pests, etc. Later, Dr. Ram Sakal Singh, Director, Regional Research Station, Gurdaspur
proposed the vote of thanks to the gathering.
Several stalls with exhibits as diverse as implements, improved seeds, solar energy, farm
literature, etc., were put up at the mela. The scientists of PAU answered a volley of questions
from the farmers during an interactive session. The Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour were
honoured by Dr Ashok Kumar with a memento and shawl. The students of Institute of
Agriculture, Gurdaspur enthralled the audience with bhangra performance.