Bathinda virtual kisan mela gets tepid response

Bathinda virtual kisan mela gets tepid response

Farm experts during a virtual kisan mela in Bathinda. Tribune photo

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 22

The virtual kisan mela organised by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) at its regional centre here has received a cold response as scores of not-so-tech-savvy farmers could not listen to expert panel discussions and lectures regarding latest agricultural techniques online this year.

Paramjit Singh, PAU Regional Director

Older farmers not tech savvy

Older farmers are not so tech savvy, but younger ones are and they particpated in the event. We tried to make it successful.

In the wake of Covid-19 restrictions, the mela was organised virtually. As a result, the university missed out on income generation from the sale of seeds and other equipment during the event.

A senior university official, said: “Things cannot be the same when we are connected virtually. In the past, thousands of farmers from south Malwa districts visited the mela and attended sessions.

“They would buy seeds, pesticides and other equipment, get water and soil tested at a single platform and enhance their knowledge. But with Covid curbs, they could not join us in large numbers,” he said.

Bogh Singh, a Mansa farmer and a union leader, said: “Virtual kisan mela was merely a formality by the government and failed to serve its purpose of educating farmers in large numbers. A majority of farmers in villages do not have smartphones.”

“The government could have organised block-level training camps in villages and distributed farm literature. It was merely a paper exercise. We not only condemn it but also demand probe with regard to utilisation of funds for the meet,” added Singh.

Prior to Bathinda, virtual kisan melas were held in Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala recently. University officials agreed virtual meets were not as effective as regular ones, but expressed their compulsion due to Covid restrictions.

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