Thousands of farmers crowded the Kisan Mela which kicked off at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. The theme of mela is “Manage crop residue efficiently, enhance soil fertility.” The Governor of Punjab Sh V. P. Singh Badnore, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the mela at the main gate of agro-industrial exhibition. Sh Hamid Karzai, Former President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Mr Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission, were the guests of honour.Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, presided over the mela.In his inaugural address, Sh Badnore said, “Punjab paved way for Green Revolution in the country and the farmers of Rajasthan picked up farming from the farmers of Punjab.” Heaping praise on PAU and the Punjab farmers, Sh Badnore lauded the close linkage between the duo. He called upon the farmers to not burn paddy straw but adopt management technologies being provided by the University for the same. A subsidy of Rs 395 crore has been provided by the Central government to the Punjab for straw management, he disclosed. “Your forefathers were not educated, but you are educated and can do much more in the field of agriculture,” he exhorted the participating farmers.In his remarks, Sh Karzai was all appreciation for the green fields, agricultural production and the participation of farmers of Punjab and adjoining states in the mela.
Remarking, “Yeh mulakat ek bahana hai, pyaar ka silsila bahut purana hai,” Sh Karzai said he was overwhelmed by the hospitality of PAU.Mr Jakhar called for opening the gates of border for trade, which would benefit the Afghanistan, Pakistan, India in general and the Punjab in particular. Tracing the history of his family, he said, “In 1956, it was felt that soils of California (US) and Abohar (Punjab) were the same. My grandfather Mr Balram Jakhar worked hard to develop orchards at Abohar. Presently, about 1 lakh acre of area is under kinnow in the state.” Punjab is making progress but soil degradation, water crisis and corporate sector in agriculture business are the matters of serious concern, he expressed. “Punjab brought Green Revolution but every revolution has a life-span,” he observed. Mr Jakhar urged the farmers to enhance profit instead of productivity, reduce the use of pesticides to save environment and conserve water for future generations.Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, stated, “The faith and gratitude of farmers has enabled the University to earn respect at the national as well as international level.”
Pointing out the challenges in the present-day agriculture scenario, Dr Dhillon stressed on using Happy Seeder and Baler technologies to manage crop residue, avoiding excessive use of pesticides in basmati, using agro-chemicals as per need in various crops, adopting kitchen garden (gobhi sarson, lentil and chickpea) concept for nutritional diet and focusing on profit instead of income. He also appealed to the farmers to read PAU farm literature and maintain contact with University through social media and website etc.Dr A.S. Nanda, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), voiced concern over the adulterated milk being supplied in the market, and rise in the number of stray cattle. He stressed that adulteration needs to be checked at every cost; otherwise it will affect the milk production. Pig and goat farming can give economic benefits to the farmers, he added.Dr H.K. Verma, Director of Extension Education, GADVASU, proposed a vote of thanks.On the occasion, the chief guest bestowed “Governor Excellent Village Award” up on village Chatta Nanhera, tehsil Sunam, district Sangrur. Later, he released a set of PAU publications, CDs and PAU Kisan App. The students of university staged a play based on Paddy straw burning was highly appreciated by the farmers.Dr Dhillon honoured the chief guest and the guests of honour with shawls and mementos. During the mela, a PAU student enthralled the audience with his song carrying the message "Say no to stubble burning."