Chandigarh, July 24, 2013: In a major boost to the state government's initiative of Crop diversification, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has agreed to establish three Multi-product Radiation Processing Technology Demonstration Plants to process the high yielding varieties of Basmati, Potatoes, Maize, Sugarcane and other alternate crops in the state.
A high level team of the BARC which visited the state from July 22-24, called on the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at his residence here today this morning and apprised him about the development. The team comprising Associate Director (RC & I) Group and Head Isotope Applications and Radiopharmaceuticals Division Dr. Gursharan Singh, Head Food Technology Division Dr AK Sharma and Head Desalination Division Dr PK Tiwari, informed the Chief Minister that the BARC would provide technology and engineering support for setting up of these plants which would also process Onions, Wheat, Suji, Maida, Spices and other commodities. The team also apprised Mr. Badal that the institute would also provide the High Yielding Varieties of Sugarcane, Pulses including Arhar, Soyabean, Moong besides Groundnuts to the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) for its trials, which would be subsequently recommended to the farmers for sowing. Apart from this team also agreed to suggest the technology for storage of potatoes in the state on scientific lines.
In another significant development, the BARC would set up an Isotope Hydrology Laboratory for carrying the groundwater investigations at SAS Nagar (Mohali). The Laboratory would be instrumental for detection of Uranium, Arsenic, Phosphorous etc. in ground water and its migration to determine the interconnectivity between aquifers and their recharge, age of water and water table assessment. The visiting team from BARC also assured the Chief Minister to assist the state by providing training to the staff and technical knowhow for running this high-tech laboratory.
Meanwhile the BARC team would also assist PAU in submitting its research proposals of different identified crop improvement areas viz. Mutation breeding, Soil health improvement, crop nutrition management etc. to the Board of Research and Nuclear Science (BRNS). A detailed project for enhancing the shelf life/ improvement of Kinnow, Litichi, Guava, Pear and Mushrooms would also be submitted to BRNS.
BARC also agreed to assist the state in long term field testing and demonstration of membrane based water purification technologies for domestic water purification, cycle mounted water purification and community size water purifications. On the demonstration basis, the BARC agreed to install this technology on a tube well in Ludhiana city and in one of the Government Schools in Sri Muktsar Sahib district. To ensure efficient Liquid and Solid waste management of Hospitals, the state government would submit a status report to BARC detailing the volume, type of contamination and present practices of disposals of liquid and solid waste generated in the Health sector. The BARC team assured the Chief Minister of recommending a financially viable and eco-friendly time tested technology to effectively combat the menace caused due to liquid and solid waste, after studying the status report.
Assuring fulsome support and cooperation to the BARC for this ambitious project, the Chief Minister said that the state would make all out efforts for completing these plants. Seeking the whole hearted assistance of the premier scientific research institute in the key sectors of Agriculture, Health and Water supply, Badal also envisaged a proven technology for the cleaning of villages Ponds across the state which had posed a big challenge to the Health of the residents there and assured of all possible assistance to BARC in this regard. He also sought the expertise the BARC to treat the sludge in urban and rural areas through ultra modern Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP) so that it could be used for the non-drinking purposes especially for irrigation.
The Chief Minister also mooted a proposal to the BARC for adopting five villages of the state to synergize the efforts of state for ensuring the best health and hygiene services to the people by launching integrated programs with the participation of local Panchayats adding he said the state government would incur the entire expenditure on this unique project.
The Chief Minister also demanded a Sub Centre of BARC in Punjab so as to effectively tackle the issues relating to the environment and pollution in a holistic manner besides upgrading the Research and Development (R&D) in Agriculture and its allied activities like Fishery, Animal Husbandry, Bee Keeping, Piggery and Goatary etc. with an objective to give impetus to the state's ambitious program of agriculture diversification.
Prominent amongst those present in the meeting Financial Commissioner Development Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister SK Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister KJS Cheema, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Balwinder Singh Sidhu and Chief Technical Coordinator Water and Sanitation Sita Ram Aggarwal.