Breaking the monotony of giving lectures and distributing literature among the farmers to sensitise them on various issues,the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 2010-11 granted a sum of Rs 32 lakh to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to develop a theatre on wheels to reach out to remote areas.
Although the sum was granted to Himachal Pradesh and Srinagar as well,for the same purpose,Punjab became first of the three states to assemble and prepare this unique yellow and green van,open at the back with a 52-inch LCD plasma screen,controlled through a laptop.
Not only the screen,PAU has also accommodated in it a microscope (to check samples in the remote villages),digital canopy analyzer for testing nutrients in a crop,soil and water testing facilities and complete set of books and literature for the farmers.
Normally the funds which are given by ICAR every year under Strengthening of Directorate of Extension Education are around Rs 4 to 5 lakh,but in 2010-11 special budget was sanctioned Rs 32 lakh for this van, said Dr M S Gill,Director,Extension Education.
Assembling the van was not an easy task. Preparing the basic structure took almost a year and then installing all equipment was not a tough job, said H S Bajwa,extension specialist,PAU.
The van is expected to be a show stealer at the upcoming Kisan Mela on September 13-14 at PAU campus and has already garnered praises from farmers in 17 districts of Punjab through krishi vigyan kenders (KVKs).
The varsity has already screened movies on protected cultivation,bee-farming,diversification,vegetables and mushroom cultivation,drip irrigation and other topics to the farmers.