The first-ever Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit (PPAS) held to woo farmers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, kept officers of the Punjab agriculture and horticulture department on their toes, as they had to work round-the-clock to make the event successful.
Following the strict directions from their bosses sitting in the state capital, most of the officers, especially the technical staff, were busy these days to ensure all facilities including travelling, food and accommodation for about 1.25 lakh farmers, who attended the four-day summit which concluded on Wednesday in SAS Nagar. "Almost all officers, including me, at the district agriculture offices were directed to send farmers in big numbers to the summit. We worked around 18 hours per day for the last one week to ensure the success of the event", said a senior officer of the Punjab agriculture department on the condition of anonymity.
Similarly, another officer of the Punjab agriculture department said: "For the last four days, I have been very busy. On the first day, I worked hard to send 127 buses of farmers from my district. Every day, we were told to send at least two buses of farmers from neighboring state of Haryana, which was a big challenge for us"
"The state government had opened its treasure for the farmers by providing `100 coupon for food to every farmer of the state and accommodation for the farmers visiting from 16 states to the summit. But the summit was a big challenge for the officers as we have to pamper farmers and work according to them. Sometimes we went to bed at 1 am as it took hours to search farmers in the summit held on 135 acres", he added.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Mangal Singh Sandhu, director, Punjab Agriculture department said: "Nearly 80 per cent officers from the state agriculture department worked round-the-clock to make the event a big success, as two officers were deputed in every bus carrying farmers. Moreover, all chief agriculture officers were deputed to arrange facilities to the farmers coming from Punjab and other states"