Foundation stone of school of Agricultural Biotechnology at PAU laid

January 16 2009 Ludiana

Foundation stone of School of Agricultural Biotechnology (SABT) was laid today at Punjab Agricultural University by Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis, USA who was the Chief Guest of the event. In his remarks, Dr. Khush congratulated the University for having established the SABT to give an impetus to biotechnology research and education. He said that PAU enjoys a great reputation within the country and abroad for bringing green revolution and many other technologies for promoting agricultural production and said that it was not sufficient. New programmes had to take shape as status quo was not sufficient. Citing the examples of golden rice and pharmaceuticals, he said that biotechnology offers realm of enormous possibilities in various areas. The doubts of public about the safety and benefits of GM crops need to be cleared through education and creating awareness through media, said Dr. Khush. He said that trained students can be the future in the new area of biotechnology. He said that the SABT established at PAU will be made world class with state-of-the-art facilities. He said that he would personally visit PAU every year to see the progress.

In his presidential remarks, Dr. Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU said that biotechnology holds great potential in addressing the farm problems and bringing another green revolution with a focus on sustainable agriculture, addressing natural issues of environment and food and nutritional security. He said that strengthening of biotechnology research is on PAU agenda. He thanked Dr. Khush for his philanthropic act, of donating to PAU for research, a sum of rupees 3.5 crores, the money he received as cash prize from several international awards.

Dr. Bikram Gill, an accomplished wheat scientist called the occasion a historical event. He said that India is participating in the mega project on genomic research and that PAU will be the first genome centre of wheat in the country. He suggested the formation of international advisory committee for the School.

Mr. Avtar Singh Dhindsa, Member PAU Board of Management in his remarks said that biotechnology needs to be further strengthened. He thanked Dr. Khush for his goodwill gesture in supporting the research through donating huge sum out of his award money and that PAU will remain ever indebted to him.

Dr. Milkha Singh Aulakh, Dean, College of Agriculture while introducing about Dr. Khush, said that he has helped in upgrading PAU faculty by nominating young scientists for research/training abroad.

Dr. (Mrs.) S.K.Mann, Dean, Postgraduate Studies said that SABT was the need of the hour and highlighted that trained manpower in this area will help support the cause of second green revolution. She said that horizontal distribution of knowledge through human resource development was needed.

Dr. P.S.Minhas, Director of Research said that biotechnology has a potential in agriculture as information and technology in corporate world. He said that area under transgenic crops is increasing the world over. He complimented the PAU biotechnology group for generating maximum funding for research and mentioned that biotechnology trained faculty is sought after for foreign collaboration.

Dr. N.S.Malhi, Director of Extension Education said that biotechnology and information and communication technologies have revolutionized the world. He discussed that the newly happening biotechnologies are making other technologies obsolete and that the impact of biotechnology is showing up.

Earlier, Dr. S.S.Gosal, Director of SABT provided an overview of the School. He said that with a battery of ten faculty members and twenty supporting staff the school will apply biotechnological tools for solving agricultural problem of the state. Dr. Deepak Gupta explained the blue print of proposed building of SABT. Dr. Kuldip Singh welcomed the guests and participants while Dr. Jagdeep Singh Sandhu managed the stage.

On this occasion, Dr. Khush, Mrs. Khush and Dr. Gill were honoured with the presentation of shawls by Dr. Kang. A cultural programme was presented by the students of SABT wherein the dignitaries including Dr. Khush, Mrs. Khush, Dr. Kang, Mrs. Kang, Dr. Bikram Gill, Dr. Talwinder Kahlon and others joined the dancing students.