PAU does not practice what it preaches

Published on Apr 07, 2021 01:48 AM IST

While experts were discussing ways and means to conserve water during the virtual Kisan Mela, gardeners of the university were seen watering its lawns using hose pipes

Gardeners of the varsity watering the lawns using hose pipes. (HT PHOTO)
Gardeners of the varsity watering the lawns using hose pipes. (HT PHOTO)
ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) does not practise what it preaches. While the university experts were seen preaching to farmers about the methods to save water and promoting drip irrigation during an hour-long programme on the final day of the virtual Kisan Mela, the gardeners of the varsity were seen watering its lawns using hose pipes.

Interestingly, the two-day virtual mela was based on the theme ‘Aao kheti kharchey ghataiye, vadhu paani, khad na payee; Sahayek dhandey naal apna ke, kheti laheywand banaiyeh (Let us cut farm expenses, reduce the use of water and fertilizers; adopt subsidiary occupations and make farming profitable)’.

At a few places in the university, the taps were either broken or water was left running in utter disregard to the depleting groundwater level. The freshwater could be seen going straight into the sewerage or getting accumulated on the ground.

The gardening staff appeared to be unaware of the latest techniques of water conservation and were seen watering the gardens using traditional methods.

When contacted, estate officer Ashok Kumar said that the matter will be looked into. “Saving water is our top priority. The broken taps and pipes, if any, will be fixed. And wastage of natural resources will not be tolerated,” he added.

PAU’s advice to farmers regarding water conservation

During the virtual Kisan Mela, a panel session on ‘Natural resource management with special reference to water-saving technologies’ was organised wherein experts deliberated on water conservation technologies and shared their experiences. Ajmer Brar, a senior agronomist, was the moderator of the panel discussion.

Rakesh Sharda, principal scientist, extension (soil and water engineering) advised the farmers to adopt drip irrigation system, which provides water as per the crop requirement.

“It is a water-saving technology and 80% subsidy is being given by the Punjab government for this technique, ‘’ they said.

Besides, there are two underground pipeline schemes for individual farmers (50% subsidy) as well as community (90% subsidy), they informed. Experts also suggested sowing of PR 126 rice variety which is early maturing and consumes less water.

Besides, they appealed to the farmers to say no to paddy straw burning and instead adopt crop residue management technologies, such as PAU Happy Seeder and Super Seeder for soil health improvement and a pollution-free environment.

Jaskarn Singh Mahal, director of extension education, who was the chief guest, said, “Last year, the virtual Kisan Mela was the first virtual mela of India. It has set a fine example in corona times.” He expressed his gratitude to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, officials of the line departments, agricultural and veterinary scientists, farmers, farm women, and the rural youth for their participation in the mela.

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