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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana

Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana pioneered the Green Revolution in India in 1960s. It is a publicly funded agricultural state university located in Ludhiana, Punjab. It was established in 1962 on the pattern of the Land Grant System of USA with the concerted efforts of Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, Chief Minister of Punjab and formally inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on August 8, 1963. It is the nation’s third-oldest Agricultural University after Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Patnagar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneshwar. In 1966, after the division of Punjab, its two main campuses Hissar and Palampur were upgraded to separate universities. PAU was bifurcated in 2005 with the formation of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. About 1 lakh farmers visited the Farm Fair on the PAU campus in Ludhiana organized by the PAU in March and September. The farmers were from not only Punjab, but also from neighbouring states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, etc. They traveled to PAU campus to buy high-quality seeds, farm equipment, and gain knowledge on new agricultural technology during the two day long Main Kisan Melas.

There are four constituent colleges of PAU namely the Colleges of Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, College of Home Science, and College of Basic Sciences and Humanities. The University has 30 departments. The PAU has competent faculty to fulfil its mandate of research, education and extension work. There are six Regional Research Stations, three Fruit Research Stations, and four Seed Farms. The University has recommended more than 809 varieties/hybrids of different crops, out of which 173 have been released at the national level. PAU has developed and recommended suitable packages and practices for all crops and Horticulture plants. The productivity of wheat increased from 1.2 t/ha in 1960-61 to 5.1 t/ha in 2016-17, and rice from 1.1 t/ha to 4.1 t/ha , and sugar recovery of sugarcane from 8 percent to 10 percent and the number of Sugar Mills from 5 to 22. The cropping intensity in the state increased from 126 percent during 1960-61 to nearly 205 percent.

Punjab Agricultural University is also well known for its high academic standards. The University is imparting education in 83 academic programmes of which 10 are undergraduate, 44 are Masters, and 29 are Doctoral programmes. PAU is also a preferred destination for foreign students from regions such as Nepal, Afghanistan, Uganda, Iran, Bhutan, and Maldives etc. There is a strong research-extension linkage between PAU and the Agriculture Department. PAU has also direct link with the farmers by the Extension Subject Specialists. The Directorate of Extension Education maintain a close liaison with the farming community directly/indirectly through various extension programmes, including trainings, exhibitions, demonstrations, Agricultural Officers Workshops, adaptive trials, field days, Kisan Melas, farm publications, plant clinics, etc. The University organizes Kisan Melas twice a year, at the Main Campus and at six Regional Research Stations where technology, displays, farmers- scientists interactive sessions, crop produce competitions, field demonstrations, and agro-industrial exhibitions are arranged.

PAU is committed to continue improvement in the productivity of agriculture and allied sectors through the achievements of the following goals: 1. To provide quality education in the area of agriculture, agricultural engineering, and allied fields. 2. To seek appropriate solutions for emerging problems in agriculture and develop relevant technologies to improve socio-economic conditions of the farming community. 3. To develop effective mechanisms for the transfer of technology to the farmers and agricultural organizations through different extension programmes with a view to improve agricultural productivity and economic conditions of rural population. 4. To develop appropriate technology for supporting the growth of agro-based industries.

It was my privilege to join the Punjab Agricultural University on February 1, 1971 and work there for 33 years continuously in different capacities, and retire on September 1 , 2003. I was lucky to work with Entomologist Joginder Singh Sandhu who had a long experience of 34 years in Sugarcane Entomology. Sandhu worked with Kalra who worked on Sugarcane Entomology for 35 years and Kalra got the chance to work with Rahman State Entomologist Punjab before the partition of India in 1947. I never applied for other posts for promotion and chose to stick to only Sugarcane Entomology. I was working in Coordinated Research Projects which give me the chance to share research programmes with all the scientists working on sugarcane in India during Workshops on All India Coordinated Research projects on Sugarcane, which were held in different states every year.

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