The Punjab State Government’s Move to Set up Horticulture Varsity
The state government’s move to set up a separate horticulture university from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
This will be the second bifurcation of PAU. Earlier, a separate university for veterinary and animal sciences was set up. Apart from the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), PAU is the only educational institute in the country that figures among the top 300 institutes associated with agriculture and allied activities in the world. However, its dilution owing to repeated bifurcation will affect its ranking.
When PAU was set up in 1960s, it had three wings — field crops, animal sciences and horticulture. The officials say field and horticulture crops are the two integrated components of crop husbandry. The need of the hour is to strengthen PAU by sanctioning liberal funds for developing new varieties of crops.
A centre of excellence for horticulture crops could be set up on the campus. There is a department of fruit science, vegetable science, floriculture, and landscaping and post-harvest technology.
While the government is prepared to set up a horticulture university, it is yet to establish the Postgraduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education for which PAU has already given 150 acres of land in Attari and Abohar. Centre gave the entire money for setting up of this institute.
For the institute, the state is to allot 10-12 acre of land free of cost near Amritsar. In the Budget for 2015-16, the Union Government was announced the project. However, the state government is yet to seize the opportunity.