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Thursday, 10 December 2020

It pains when farmers termed terrorists, says agri scientist

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 9

A day after refusing to accept the 'FAI Golden Jubilee Award for Excellence' from Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda in Delhi, Dr Varinderpal Singh, principal (soil chemist), Punjab Agricultural University, said he was proud of what he had done.

Dr Varinderpal handed over a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Union Minister. He wrote that he was heartbroken to see the plight of farmers and stated that he was neither a farmer nor a terrorist, but was writing in the capacity of an Indian who had been professionally dedicated for the welfare of farmers.

Talking to The Tribune Dr Varinderpal said he had not informed anyone about his decision as he wanted to raise farmers' issue from a prominent stage. It was after reaching Delhi that he took the decision of not accepting the award. An interaction with auto-rickshaw driver who informed him that he was going on the protest site and moved by how Punjabis were fighting not only for their own rights, but for farmers of the entire country, changed his heart. "Our work and awards are for farmers only. Awards are meaningless if farmers are out on the streets," he said.

I am son of a farmer. Nobody can understand the pain I go through when farmers are termed terrorists. I am proud of what I have done. I wish to work for the country and the Centre should listen to farmers. I will be guilty if I receive this award. —Dr Varinderpal Singh, Principal (soil chemist), Punjab Agricultural University

Dr Varinderpal said, "I am son of a farmer. Nobody can understand the pain I go through when farmers are termed terrorists. I am proud of what I have done."

"Farmers work in the soil while I experiment with the soil in my laboratory," he said. "The Centre tried to break courage of farmers. It is the first agitation of its kind in independent India when protestors have not destroyed any public property and remained highly peaceful while serving food even to cops who lathicharged elderly farmers," he said.

"I wish to work for the country and the Centre should listen to farmers. The work I did is only for farmers. I will be guilty if I receive this award," he said on the stage.

Dr Varinderpal had led a team comprising Dr KS Subramanian, Dr Bijay Singh, Dr RK Gupta and OP Chaudhary from the PAU. He said he did not consult his team members before taking this step. "I am proud of what I have done. I fully support the cause of farmers," he said.

Dr Varinderpal developed the "PAU-Leaf Colour Chart (PAU-LCC)" technology for optimising consumption of urea in crops. The PAU-LCC technology provides a potential solution of reducing urea consumption, which saves more than Rs 750 crore (Rs 250 crore of farmers and Rs 500 crore of the Government of India) in Punjab. Transfer of this technology would provide substantial economic benefits to farmers and the Centre. Improved quality foodgrains, reduced consumption of insecticides/pesticides, prevention of air and water pollution as after-effects of the adoption of PAU-LCC technology remain priceless, he said.

As per sources, Dr Varinderpal had earlier written to Dr BS Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU, to return his Padma Shri award in support of farmers. The V-C could not be contacted and everyone in the university remained tight-lipped.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/39YdM1C

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