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Use certified disease-free seeds: V-C
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Plant diseases, which cause losses up to 26 per cent in yields, impair the quality of produce to the disadvantage of producers as well as consumers. This was stated by Dr M.S.Kang, V-C of PAU, at a symposium on "Role of disease-free seed in sustainable agriculture" held at PAU.

The symposium was organised by the Department of Plant Pathology in collaboration with the Indian Society of Plant Pathologists (ISOPP).

Dr Kang said the recent advancement in research made early-detection of pathogens possible which further facilitated their timely management. The identification of weak links in the life cycles of several dreaded pathogens helped in selecting efficient disease management strategies and in arresting their further development and spread, he added.

Focusing on seed as a critical input in agriculture, Dr Kang said it served as the main source of pathogen survival and carryover in a number of economically important crop diseases. In some cases, infected seeds could be the source of mycotoxins that could develop during storage.

Development and spread of several diseases could be prevented if due care was taken to use certified disease-free seed from reliable agencies, he opined.

On use of pesticides, Dr Kang revealed that the state's current consumption stood at 17 per cent of the total pesticides used in India. Of this, more than 90 per cent was being used in cotton, rice and vegetables.

The Malwa region accounted for nearly 75 per cent of pesticides used in Punjab. The decrease in pesticide consumption since 2003-04 could be attributed to the introduction of Bt. Cotton, integrated pest management and awareness among farmers, as PAU and state government had been promoting bio-pesticides.

Earlier, Dr S.K.Mann, head, Department of Plant Pathology and President ISOPP, delivered the welcome address. She pointed out that out of 25 major diseases in plants, 12 were seed-borne and the emphasis should be on minimising them.

Towards the end of the inaugural session, Dr H.S.Rewal , vice-president of ISOPP, proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was coordinated by Dr V.K.Kaul, professor of Plant Pathology.

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Workshop to be held at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
A five-day workshop on 'Safety measures against harmful effects of pesticides/farm accidents' will be organised by the Directorate of Extension Education, PAU in collaboration with Punjab State Science and Technology Council (PSSTC) from July 16 to 20, 2007 at Farmers' Service Centre, PAU. Scientists and extension specialists from various departments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Farm Advisory Service Scheme will be participating in the programme.

Dr. N.S. Malhi, director of Extension Education said the training was being conducted under the patronage of Dr. M.S. Kang, vice-chancellor of PAU. Dr. Neelam Sharma Gulati, joint director, PSSTC and a senior scientist, Dr. K.S. Bath would also participate in the workshop.

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Punjab agriculture needs value addition, says Bajwa
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
M.S Bajwa, Member, PAU Board of Management and former Director of Research, has said a paradigm shift was needed for Punjab agriculture to move beyond "agro-production based economy to that of agro-production, value-addition and processing industry".

He said, building up of modern agro-processing industrial base in rural areas and modernising the existing units through increased public-private partnership and investment is vital.

According to Bajwa, conventional systems of farming cannot sustain the economy of growing rural population. Over the years, the share of agriculture in state GDP has declined, he pointed out. “The rural-employment growth rate in our country is declining (2.4 per cent in 1983-94 to less than 0.7 per cent in 1994-2003) and urban-rural economic gaps are increasing.

He emphasised, these trends must be reversed to regenerate rural economy and also to realise full potential of the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Act.

Bajwa said state’s rural economy is constrained by the high-cost input-intensive production and export of non-processed agricultural produce (mainly foodgrains) at much lower prices than is possible through the trade of processed and value-added products.

He said, the currently recommended farm-diversification plans are also failing to control declining profitability because these do not have adequate support of competitive agro-industry and remunerative market.

He disclosed, the "Vision Document" of the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries has set the target for food processing industry to grow from Rs 4,60,000 crore at present to Rs13,50,000 crore, by 2015.

Bajwa suggested to focus on decreasing rural-urban economic gaps by creating farming systems region-based and commodity-specific agro-industrial complexes in rural areas, having a network of public or private funded small and medium sized enterprise clusters. Decision about the kind of most suitable agro-industry, its potential and location in the region should be on the basis of socio economic analysis of "production-processing-marketing-consumption relationships".

Different state rural development agencies, farm training centres, Agro-industrial Corporation, NGOs and others should motivate and empower technically and financially, the rural communities, farmers' associations and village panchayats for building up new modern agro-enterprises, besides improving the existing units. To compete at global level, the adoption of strict quality control and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures and certification is paramount.

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Counselling at DMCH 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Dumra Auditorium of the DMCH today witnessed a large number of students, who came here on the second day of counselling for 40 per cent quota seats, after clearing PGET-2007.

Earlier, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, had notified Dayanand Medical College and Hospital as the venue for counselling of all eligible candidates applying for admission to MD/MS/PG Diploma/MDS and super-speciality courses.

In all, counselling was held for all eligible candidates seeking admissions to various post-graduate medical and dental courses run by BFUHS, Faridkot. Among those present during the counselling were director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, Dr J. S. Dalal, Nominee of the registrar of BFUHS Satpal Singh, principals of various medical and dental colleges in the state, including Dr P.S. Sandhu, Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Dr Jaswinder Kaur Shergill, Dr Kamlesh Vasudev, Dr Daljit Singh and others.

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PCTE to organise placement week 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) will organise a placement week for MCA batch (2005 to 2008) from July 14 to 21 at its campus. Seventeen companies have been invited by college’s placement cell for recruiting MCA students.

These companies are Intiger, Wipro Infotech, HCL, Ocean Technologies, Tata Indicom, Outline systems, Vishal Mart, Vision Unlimited, Seasia Consulting, Phoenix Infotech, Mechanta Systems, Sun Softwares, Cyberframe, GS Auto, LG, Ralson, Sonalika and Miracle Technologies. These companies would recruit students through written tests and interviews. 

PCTE director K.N.S. Kang said: “As per NASSCOM’s survey more than five lakh professionals will be recruited in the IT sector by 2010. Six students from the current MCA batch have already been picked up by Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Birlasoft and Iflex Systems.” 

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Urdu classes at Punjabi Bhawan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
The Language Department, Punjab, has started new session of Urdu "Aamoz" class at Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana, from 1 pm to 2 pm on working days.

District language officer Harpaul Singh Sidhu said the classes are free of cost and age was no bar. At the end of the six-month training, an examination would be held and certificates issued by the Language Department.

Forms can be obtained from the office of the district language officer at the Punjabi Bhawan complex in working hours.

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CMC don visits Dutch varsity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
The educational philosophy being pursued at Maastricht University in the Netherlands can provide important tips to medical colleges and teachers in India, feels Dr Tejinder Singh, professor and head of paediatrics at CMC here.

Dr Singh has just returned after computing the first session as a ‘'student’' at this university as part of his Masters in Health Professions Education" (MHPE).

Sharing his experience with mediapersons here on Wednesday, Dr Singh said he was impressed with the facilities available to students and the practice of putting most of the learning responsibilities onto students in Dutch University.

He was of the view that certain aspects of their methodology could be successfully implemented with good results in India.

According to Dr Singh, Maastricht University placed a lot of emphasis on self-study for students through Internet link, thereby bringing any journal or publication from around the world through a single log-in.

The library has over 8 lakh books, 200 terminals and an equal number of LAN points to reduce the time spent on reaching the target site or material by the students. In addition, the university provided desktop kiosks at almost all departments, a number of corridors and even cafeteria for student.

He further said a mentor was available to guide each student with compulsory eight meetings. The report by the student was a part of the evaluation procedure.

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