Ludhiana, September 9, 2019: CULTIVATE COMPASSION, OFFER HOPE TO THE DISTRESSED PEOPLE: PAU VC: On the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, in a message Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) stated that along with technological and policy efforts directed to increase in farm profits, the focus should be on resilience building and problem-solving skills of farming families.
In addition to financial stability, the farmers need motivation as only a vibrant farmer can do vibrant farming. There is a need to cultivate compassion, give warmth and offer hope to the distressed, he added.
Dr Navtej Singh Bains, Director of Research, PAU, while addressing a meeting of Principal Investigators of National Agricultural Science Fund (NASF- ICAR) project on addressing the issue of farmers’ distress, stated that each suicide is a tragedy that has a ripple effect. But a reassuring fact about suicide is that it is preventable and that too with timely and low-cost interventions. Concerted efforts for sensitizing the community are required to provide support to the distressed, he said.
The meeting was attended among others by Dr Sudha Rani, Director, Extension Education Institute (EEI), Hyderabad; Dr RD Ahire, Head, Department of Extension Education, MAU, Parbhani, Maharashtra; Dr Harprit Kaur, Head, Department of Psychology, Punjabi University, Patiala and Dr KS Thind, Additional Director of Research, PAU.
Dr Sudha Rani, Director, EEI, Hyderabad, informed that the number of farmer suicides in Telangana has come down. A scheme called Rythu Bandhu (friend of the farmers) and insurance scheme started by Telangana government are yielding good results, she added.
Dr RD Ahire, MAU, Parbhani, disclosed that successive droughts from last four years in Marathwada region have resulted in crop failures. The Maharashtra Government is providing free counselling services to the distressed farmers through trained psychologists. This has resulted in stabilization of rate of suicide.
Dr Harprit Kaur, Head, Department of Psychology, Punjabi University, Patiala stated that most discussions and parleys on suicides are overtaken by issues of crop failures, rising debts and new farming techniques. The psychological aspect is largely ignored. One of the major causes behind suicidal intent is depression, she observed. There is a need to look at this helplessness causing disorder as a societal feature, rather than an individual one, she said.
Dr Sarabjeet Singh, Principal Investigator at the Lead Centre, PAU disclosed that the project has developed a 7 R model of strategies for preventing farmer suicides. These are: Remunerative agriculture, Resilience building, Rational expenditure, Reassurance through connectedness, Righteous conduct, Religious support and Responsible reporting.
Dr Bains, Director of Research, presented mementoes to the visiting scientists as well as Mr Amandeep Singh, Senior Research Fellow (SRF), Punjabi University, Patiala. The SRFs from PAU, Dr Ravijot Kaur and Dr Manjot Kaur also graced the occasion.
PAU STARTS PLANTATION DRIVE AT LADHOWAL SEED FARM: The University Seed Farm, Ladhowal, in collaboration with Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, PAU, and University NSS Unit started a plantation drive at Ladhowal Farm. Two thousand and two hundred plants of shisham, dek, sohanjana, behra, safeda, toon, etc. were raised and there is a target of raising 10,000 plants at the farm in the current season. As many as 100 students of the College of Agriculture NSS unit participated enthusiastically in the programme.
The Director of Research Dr NS Bains inaugurated the programme by raising plant of dek and motivated the NSS volunteers for such drives and aftercare of raised plants. He stressed on establishing continuity in the programme so that students may realize belongingness with the activities.
The Additional Director of Research (Crop Improvement) Dr KS Thind emphasized on raising traditional trees for their ecological, economic and social importance.
The Head, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Dr Sanjeev Chauhan; Associated Director (Seeds) Dr TS Dhillon; University NSS Coordinator Dr HS Saralch; Programme Coordinator Dr Pankaj Kumar and Dr Deepak Arora, Dr Sudhir Thaman and Dr Sapna Thakur attended the programme.
Dr HS Saralch demonstrated the planting technique for their better survival and establishment. The raised plants were irrigated immediately after the plantation drive.
PAU GETS APPRECIATION AWARD FOR AICRP ON FODDER CROPS: The All India Coordinated Research Project on Fodder Crops and Utilization (AICRP-FCU) in the Forage and Millet Section, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), has been conferred with the Appreciation Award during the Annual Group Meet, held at Central Agricultural University, Imphal, Manipur, on August 30 and 31, 2019. Drs Rahul Kapoor, Ashlesha Singla, Maninder Kaur and Meenakshi Goyal participated in the National Group Meet Rabi 2019-20 and received this award. It is worth mentioning that PAU has got two oat varieties and one rye grass variety released and notified at national level viz; OL 1861 (North West Zone, North East Zone, Central Zone and South Zone), OL 1869-1 (North West Zone and Central Zone) and PBRG-2 (Palampur, Srinagar and Punjab).
Out of 24 different coordinating centres funded by ICAR for forage improvement work in the country, the work of AICRP-FCU, PAU, was adjudged as the best. The All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops was sanctioned to this station in 1987-88. The Forage Section has developed 60 improved varieties of different forage crops and 60 agronomic, 13 plant protection and 2 forage evaluation technologies for dairy farmers.
Dr BS Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU; Dr NS Bains, Director of Research and Dr GS Mangat, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, congratulated the team of forage scientists for bringing laurels to the University.