The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) authorities face major embarrassment on Friday when three dignitaries of the Kisan Mela, including the Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki who was supposed to be the chief guest, failed to turn up at the venue. Organisers then announced the university’s vice-chancellor Dr B S Dhillon as the chief guest.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh and Education Minister Daljeet Singh Cheema were the other two guests who failed to make it to the function.
When contacted, Tota Singh’s son Barjinder Singh Brar said that he had informed the university of Tota’s inability to make it to the function as he was inspecting relief operations in Moga which had been hit by a storm, while Cheema’s spokesperson said that there was a last-minute change of plan that forced the minister to miss out on the event. The Governor’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Recently, farmers had heckled Dhillon and Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder after the V-C held them responsible for the cotton crop damage.
While Dhillon inaugurated the Pashu Palan Mela of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), GADVASU vice chancellor Dr A S Nanda inaugurated the PAU Kisan Mela.
In his speech, Dhillon refrained from making any reference to cotton and farmers growing it.
“I am elated seeing the trust farmers have shown in PAU and our research. There is a well-knit bond between PAU and farmers. We want farmers to grow PAU-recommended varieties and then they can avoid losses. We cannot do anything about natural problems like weather conditions but the losses can be minimised if PAU guidelines are followed,” claimed Dhillon.
“The V-C is asking us to grow vegetables. He is not aware of the ground reality. Pumpkins are dumped in the mandis and veggies like bitter and bottle gourd fetch only Rs 7 per kg in the open market. How we will feed our families?” questioned a farmer.