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Dr. Malkiat Singh Duhra

Dr. Malkiat Singh Duhra, Professor - Senior Entomologist, is an agricultural scientist and renowned sugarcane entomologist. He served as Incharge of the Entomology Section and later Director of Sugarcane Research Programme at Punjab Agricultural University. He worked in state and national research projects from 1971 to 2003. His research work on biology of pests pin pointed the weak links in their life history which lead to developing successful eco-friendly integrated pest management. Screening of sugarcane varieties for resistance to pests in germplasm made substantial decrease in the use of pesticides in sugarcane crop possible. His new recommendations regarding integrated pest management, biological control and resistant varieties give impetus to develop sugar industry in Punjab and northern India. He was a member of four scientific societies: Entomological Society of India, IARI, New Delhi, Indian Ecological Society, PAU, Ludhiana, Indian Society of Pest Management and Economic Zoology, Dr. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, Indian Society for the Advancement of Insect Science, PAU, Ludhiana. Malkiat Singh Duhra did his M.Sc Zoology - Entomology in 1970 from Punjab University, Chandigarh and Ph.D Entomology in 1980 (GPA 3.78) from Himachal Agricultural University, Palampur. Dr. Duhra was awarded the merit scholarship during his Ph.D programme. He published 60 research papers in national and international research journals. He also published 35 popular articles to disseminate the research technology to agricultural officers, sugar mill staff and farmers. He was associated with the evaluation and release of 11 sugarcane varieties and he gave 16 recommendations regarding control of sugarcane pests. He established the biological control laboratory at Sugarcane Research Station, Jalandhar in 1985 and standardized the mass rearing of Trichogramma species in plastic tubs. He has strong linkages with the sugar mills and visited there frequently to monitor pest populations to control pests timely and effectively.

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Early Life & Scientific Contributions

Malkiat Singh Duhra, born on  January 1, 1946, at village Duhra near Jalandhar in the Punjab state of India. He did his matriculation from Sikh National High School Dolikae Duhra. Malkiat Singh graduated in agricultural science (B.Sc) from Khalsa College Amritsar in 1968 and secured master degree (M.Sc Zoology - Entomology) in 1970 from College of Agriculture Solan, Punjab University Chandigarh. He started his career as Research Assistant in 1971 at Sugarcane Research Station Jalandhar, Punjab Agricultural University and in 1976 was promoted to Assistant Entomologist. In 1977, he pursued his doctoral study at College of Agriculture Solan and obtained Ph.D in Entomology in 1980 from Himachal Agricultural University Palampur. He worked on honey bees and pin pointed safe insecticides with minimum hazards to honey bees and human beings (M.Sc). He evaluated the residual toxicity of insecticides and used his research for the integrated pest management of cauliflower seed crop (Ph.D). In 1984, Dr. Duhra was selected as Associate Professor - Entomologist and in 1992 promoted as Professor - Senior Entomologist. Since 1984, he served as Incharge Section of Entomology and later Director of Sugarcane Research Programme. He retired in 2003.

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Research work was carried out on different aspects: screening of sugarcane varieties in germplasm for resistance to pests, study on the biology of pests to pin point the weak links in their life history to use in pest management, cultural, mechanical, chemical and biological control, effect of agronomic practices on pests incident. Research work was further strengthened by inter - disciplinary and inter - institute coordination. Disseminated the latest research to farmers, staff of sugar mills, agriculture department, fellow colleagues and students doing M.Sc and Ph.D in sugarcane entomology. Pest monitoring was carried out in the state every year to know the status of the pests and suggest control measures accordingly, so that the pests may be controlled timely, economically and with minimum hazards.Chemical control of top borer in 1972 resulted in the release of Co J 64 variety high sugar early maturing susceptible to top borer. Consistent research work lead to decrease the infestation of pests in the state and mostly the population of pests fluctuated below economic injury level. Integrated pest management was developed both for plant crop and ratoon crop. Dr. Duhra was associated with all the sugarcane varieties released for cultivation like Co J 64, Co J 79, Co S 767, Co Pant 84211, Co Lk 8102, Co J 83, Co J 81, Co J 82, Co J 84, Co J 85, Co J 88, Co 89003, etc. In biological control, inundative release of Trichogramma chelonis control stalk borer and early shoot borer and Trichogramma japonicum control top borer. Natural parasitoids: Rhaconotus, Stenobracon, Isotema, Bracon, Apanteles, Telenomus and Trichogramma species play important role to suppress sugarcane borer population. Epiricania melanoleuca along with other natural enemies keep the perilla population below economic injury level.

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