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Ignite fire in the belly to douse farm fires: Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal to Punjab farmers

Ludhiana, September 28, 2022 (Yes Punjab News)
In a bid to transform today’s students into active citizens of tomorrow, S. Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, NRI Affairs and Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Punjab, urged the students to have fire in the belly to meet the challenges like stubble burning in the state. He was speaking at the launch of ‘Campaign on Paddy Straw Management’ which is being run under the guardianship of Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Paying rich tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary, S. Dhaliwal said the youth must work towards achieving excellence for the state to realize the vision of this lodestar. The lost glory of Punjab can be reinstated only if its air, water and land are out of distress.

Pointing out that rice is not a staple food item of Punjab, he lamented that the state practiced paddy farming to make the country food-secure and, while doing that, it overused its natural resources like underground water. He exhorted the students to strive for research that can effectuate crop diversification and offer an alternative to water-guzzling paddy varieties. S. Dhaliwal expected to see some improvement with the state government’s recent initiative to supply 1.22 lakh Super Seeder machines to various villages.

In his remarks, Dr. S. S. Gosal underscored the problems caused due to crop residue burning. In addition to environmental and health risks, he said, burning paddy stubble damages micro-organisms which are invisible to the naked eye but present in the upper layer of the soil. Owing to the loss of ‘friendly’ organisms, the crops become more prone to disease. He advocated the concept of conservation agriculture which up-cycles paddy straw and does not leave any waste.

Encouraging two-way interaction, Dr Gosal asked the students to serve as an ambassador of the university to provide solutions to the farmers and elicit feedback for future research in the university. He said the efforts of the students in this noble cause would certainly bear fruits.

Two presentations were delivered to apprise the students about benefits of paddy straw and its management. Dr Mahesh Narang, Head, Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering enumerated various machines like Happy Seeder and Super Seeder for in-situ as well as ex-situ straw management. Dr R.K. Gupta, Head, Department of Soil Science, explained how paddy straw is a treasure of nutrients which improves physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil.

S. Dhaliwal was at the PAU campus along with S. Karambir Singh Ghuman, S. Daljit Singh Grewal, S. Hardeep Singh Mundian and S. Jasvir Singh Gill, all Members of the Legislative Assembly in Punjab. The officers of the university, faculty and students were also present at the jam-packed event. The event was organized as a step towards the goals given by the Punjab Government regarding stubble management.

Earlier, Dr. G.S. Buttar, Director Students’ Welfare, outlined the entire programme and explained how students would be pursuing door to door campaign. The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr Ashok Kumar, Director Extension Education, PAU. The chief guest was honoured with a memento and a shawl by the Vice-Chancellor.

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