Ludhiana, December 18, 2017: The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has made Jonewal village of Ludhiana district as “Gajarbooti Free Village.” Last year, PAU made ‘Mansuran’ as the first gajarbooti free village of the state, which the villagers have maintained till date. Gajarbooti (Parthenium hysterophorus) is the most feared weed species, which has invaded around 35 million hectares across the country. Its plant parts contain toxins which cause allergies and several diseases in human beings and livestock. Jonewal village was selected under the PAU and Bayer Crop Science (BCS) collaborative project.

Dr M.S. Bhullar, Senior Agronomist, and Project In-charge, informed that Jonewal village had heavy gajarbooti infestation at many locations.

The project team including Dr Simerjeet Kaur, Assistant Agronomist, PAU and Mr Hitesh Sharma from BCS, organizedgajarbooti awareness programs in which the villagers were sensitized about harmful effects of gajarbooti and its management. The team, with the active support from Jonewal gram panchayat, got all gajarbooti plants uprooted within and along the village premises mechanically and by using herbicides, alternatively. Now, students play sports and enjoy the clean playground of the school, which was earlier full of gajarbooti.

It may be mentioned here that under Punjab conditions, gajarbooti germinates from February through November. As soon as its plants attain 3 to 5 leaf stage, before flowering, these need to be destroyed. At Jonewal, the new weed infestations are being regularly monitored, and uprooted/sprayed with herbicides to prevent seed production, which is a big step towards eradication of this noxious weed. The gram panchayats from adjoining villages Balliawal, Koomkalan, Maini, Fatehgarh Jattan and Bhatha Dhua have shown keen interest in initiating this campaign in their villages. The gajarbooti eradication work is also in progress in the villages Nagkhurd (Amritsar) and Sahari (Gurdaspur) under the project.
While appreciating the work, Dr Thakar Singh, Head, Department of Agronomy, PAU, stated that the department will provide all technical support to people who come forward for eradication of gajarbooti in their premises.

Monday, December 18, 2017