Thursday, April 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmer grows cotton without pesticides
A Correspondent

Laddowal, April 10
While the cotton farmers of the state are worried over the crop as a notorious pest on cotton, American bollworm, has been damaging their crop for the past many years, a progressive farmer from Bathinda has set an example for others. He has set a record of producing the crop without applying any pesticides.

Mr Kuldip Singh Sidhu, a farmer from Bathinda, has grown the cotton crop with a minimum cost of production and his experiment may also show the path to several others. He was here yesterday at Laddowal village to attend the function organised to celebrate the Dr Norwan E. Borloug’s day at JDM farms.

Sharing his experience with other farmers he said he had started this project in 1994 when he got the healthy seedlings of the cotton crop from Punjab Agricultural University. He sowed the seeds of the American cotton and cotton in a 10-acre plot in the Malwa belt. Emphasising on the need to cover at least one acre under the cotton crop, he said a farmer could get higher profits from the crop if grown judiciously. He further recalled that in the past the cotton was a cash crop and major financial decisions of fixing marriages, buying property etc were taken on the basis of the returns from this crop. But now with the increased cost of production, the farmer’s was existing hand to mouth.

Mr Kuldip Singh, while growing cotton without using pesticides, has maintained harmony with the crop-friendly insects and their ratio to the pesticides is more the crop he has sown.

He admitted that the decreasing trend of growing cotton crop was a result of the fact that earlier there was only one variety available and the attack of the notorious pest, the American ball worm added to the cost of production. He told the farmers that it costs between Rs 5,500 and Rs 7,000 per acre on the pesticidal sprays to kill the pests of all kinds. Moreover, the residual effect of the crop was harmful for the soil as well as it was not in accordance with the WTO recommendations.

He further said he started with four trials with the university’s recommendations, biocontrol, use of pesticides and the control method without the use of the pesticides on the individual farms. He the told that he got the same yield from the last one without the use of pesticides in the first crop as other farmers got with the additional cost on pesticides. He selected healthy plants from the produce and planted them the next year and observed that there was very less infestation in the produce. He only sprayed on the ‘jassids’. He also mentioned that with the delay in one spray the friendly insects could be restored to some extent.

With the successful trial on the cotton crop he increased the plant-to-plant distance from six inches to one feet and line-to-line distance from 37 cm to 100 cm. He ploughed the field every three years to allow the pupae of the pests to go deep into the soil or picked up by the birds from the surface even before the second stage. He applied the fertiliser only at the time of the cultivation. With all these recommendations and suggestions for growing healthy cotton crop Mr Kuldip Singh Sidhu urged the farmers to develop their own seeds and to make a cut of at least 50 per cent on the pesticidal sprays. On asking about the Bt cotton he said first he would the see the seeds himself and then tell the farmers about it.



Rajewal decries FCI chief’s order
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 10
By issuing instructions to stop payment of commission on the purchase of wheat to arhtiyas in Punjab, Mr Bhoore Lal, Chairman of the FCI, has provoked the already agitated farmers. The arhtiyas’ commission will now be paid by farmers and deducted from the sales proceeds of their products.

Reacting to the recent instructions issued to the Zonal Manager (North) Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, the General Secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, here today said that these orders would be vehemently opposed by the Union.

While talking to mediapersons Mr Rajewal said the farmers were already unhappy over a nominal increase of Rs 10 in the MSP of wheat. Deduction of Arhtiyas’ commission from the sale proceeds alienate them from the Centre.

Mr Rajewal further said paying commission to arhtiyas was purchaser’s responsibility. How could the government conclude now that arhtiyas were not playing any role in procurement? he added.

He demanded immediate withdrawal of such ‘anti-farmer instructions’.

Mr Rajewal has also assured BKU units in Punjab to organise protests against the order.



Parents accuse school for child’s failure
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
Parents of a child studying in Class IV in DAV Public School have accused the school authorities for his failure in examination. The parents said since they were not educated, it was the duty of the school authorities to understand his weakness and teach him properly.

Stating this in a duly-signed affidavit, Mr Amarjit Singh, father of the child, alleged that he had admitted his child in the school in 1994 after paying Rs 28,000 as donation. He said he had to arrange the amount by taking loans from his friends and relatives. He said he was surprised when on March 25 this year, he was called by the school authorities for a meeting and told that his child could not be promoted to next class as he was very weak in mathematics and science.

The parent said when he argued, he was told that he had two options, either to take a transfer certificate of his child being a passed candidate and get admission in some other school or retain his child in the same class. Mr Amarjit Singh said he felt that the future of his child had been spoiled as he was not in a position to pay donations to some other school presently for his child’s admission. He said his was not the lone case, as there were nearly 300 similar cases to whom the options had been given.

The parent also blamed that the Principal had insulted him by saying that his child was not fit for study in the school as neither of the parents were graduate. He wondered why, when the parents are uneducated, should the child also remain uneducated. He said he later sought an appointment with the Principal, which was cancelled on some pretext.

When contacted, Principal R.S. Patial, said the child had failed in Class II and later also in Class III, when he was conditionally promoted. He said the parents of the child had been invited every month this year for their counselling, but they never turned up. He said the child was extremely weak in mathematics, science and English.

The Principal said when the parents of the child finally turned up for the annual report, they were told that their child could not do well in an English medium school and he be shifted to some other school.



PAU professor gets award
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
Dr Satpal Singh Cheema, Professor of plant pathology, Punjab Agricultural University, has been given the meritorious teacher award for the year 2001 in recognition of his teaching work, understanding and resolving of students’ problems. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 5,000, besides a citation.

Dr Cheema was honoured for putting up relentless and dedicated efforts in improving student-teacher relationships as class in charge, foreign students’ adviser, programme officer of the NSS, president of the yoga club, secretary of students’ aid fund committee and member of several club committees.

Recipient of the PAUTA Best Teacher Award in 1991 and the R.B. Jai Chand Luthra Award in 2000, Dr Cheema has published 134 research papers, 40 articles, six books and bulletins, 14 book chapters and review articles and seven laboratory manuals.

He has been a member of several professional societies and was elected as fellow of the Indian Psychopathological Society and the Indian Society of Plant Pathologists and editor of Plant Diseases Research.

New head: Dr Joginder Singh, Senior Entomologist, has joined as the new head of the Department of Entomology.

For the past 33 years, he served the department in various positions and has been a member of several state and national-level committees which advise the government for sustaining and enhancing cotton productivity. As an expert in cotton-IPM, Dr Joginder gave impetus to work for revival of cotton in Punjab. Presently, he is handling national and international projects in management of inspect pests of cotton. His extensive work on causes and control of pest resistance, resurgence, induction of secondary pest problems lead to the development of bio-intensive IPM modules in cotton.

Dr Joginder also evaluated Bt cotton hybrids on the basis of which he strongly suggested the release of Bt cotton for the benefit of poor farmers. He has published research papers, reviews and 96 popular articles in national and international journals of repute.

SAASCA to give award: The Society for Advancement of Academic, Sports and Cultural Activities (SAASCA) has decided to constitute the Best Young Teacher Award from this year.

Giving this information, Dr M.A. Zahir, ex-officio president of society and Dean of the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, said the award would be given to a teacher of the college who is less than 40 years of age, shares good rapport with the students and has several research papers to his credit.

New research coordinator: Dr A.P.S. Mann, Head of the Department of Biochemistry, has been appointed as research coordinator in the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities. He has replaced Dr V.C. Kapoor, who retired on Monday.


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