February 8, 2021 2:02:34 am
Five prominent academicians including current and former vice-chancellors of universities launched a portal at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Sunday to register and help families of farmers who died during the ongoing agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Dr Varinderpal Singh, principal soil scientist, PAU, and chairman Atam Pargas Social Welfare Council (APSWC) said their trust would be visiting the families of each farmer who died during the protests and help them in every required aspect.
Dr Singh said the portal (https://atampargas.org/home/Supportfarmers) is accessible to all and farmers can register on it. “Volunteers who want to work with us for the ‘Farmer Support’ project can also register on the portal. As per our research, till now, 198 farmers have lost their lives in ongoing agitation,” he said.
Dr Singh said the ASWC will make every possible effort to provide succour to these families. Any professional, teachers, professors, agricultural experts, businessmen, volunteers and donors can register at the Atam Pargas website to contribute their part to this service.
The portal was inaugurated at the website (www.atampargas.org) of APSWC by Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, former vice-chancellor (V-C), PAU; Dr Inderjeet Singh, V-C, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Dr Manjeet Singh Kang, former V-C, PAU, Dr SP Singh, former V-C, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), and Dr Gursharan Singh, former V-C, Guru Kashi University, Talwandi Sabo.
In his inaugural address, Dr Aulakh, former V-C PAU, lauded the initiative to extend aid and relief to the families of deceased farmers. He exhorted all citizens to step forward to contribute to this noble cause.
Dr Aulakh said the economy of the nation depends on agriculture and hence protection of the rights of farmers is of paramount importance in the prosperity of the nation. He reminded the audience of “the 1943 Bengal famine and also of our reliance on the US food grains under PL 480”. He pointed to the pivotal role of Punjab in making India self-reliant in the field of agriculture. Dr Aulakh stated that the Green Revolution was the product of dedication and diligence of agricultural scientists and farmers. The consolidation of land holdings, facility of markets, government aid and the inception of Minimum Support Price since 1966-67 contributed to the much acclaimed Green Revolution. He informed that state agricultural universities began to come into existence in 1960 and that the PAU was founded in 1962.
Dr Aulakh added that since farm-based businesses have the potential to be lucrative, the government wanted to sell it to corporates, which would inevitably lead to exploitation of farmers as well as the general public.
He also expressed his concern over the inhumane attitude of the state toward the farming community. He urged that officials of the agricultural universities shall not lack in their responsibility for conveying the government to repeal anti-national laws. The various attending intellectuals, professors, deans, directors and vice-chancellors also condemned the anti-farmer bills and urged the government to repeal them with immediate effect.
Dr Varinderpal Singh said he regretted that while the farmer has been guarding the rights of all citizens through peaceful protests for the past five months, the intellectuals have not been able to offer any organized direction, although renowned intellectuals are contributing in their personal capacity.
He rued that the academia and officials who have an obligation to serve the public and develop a road map for the development of prosperous society have stayed mum, which is why the state of affairs is going from bad to worse.
A photo exhibition on the theme of the current farmers’ protest was organized by SAI Creations, Amritsar on the spot.
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