Ludhiana, Nov 3: Columbia University, New York and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have signed an agreement for a project on 'Innovations for reversing groundwater depletion and promoting secure agricultural income in Punjab and other parts of India'. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Vice Chancellor, Manjit Singh Kang and Prof Upmanu Lall, Director Water Centre, Columbia University on Sunday, Nov 2.
The MoU is for a duration of three years. Under the MoU Columbia University would provide funds to the tune of Rs 27 lakh for completion of the project.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kang said PAU has already inked MoUs with a number of advanced international Universities in different areas of agriculture.
Discussing the rampant problem of depleting watertable in Punjab, Dr Kang said the working together by scientists of the two Universities, would help develop strategies for dealing with the problem effectively. He mentioned that PAU has a plan to send young faculty members to institutes of advance learning for training in the upcoming areas.
He hoped that PAU scientists could also be sent to Columbia University in the area of water management.
Prof Lall said Columbia University has programmes in the areas of global resource and environment challenges, energy crisis management, climate related research, agricultural economics, alternative energy sources, where PAU scientists could be interested.
Highlighting the project, Dr R S Sidhu, Head, Department of Economics and Sociology said it aims at developing and testing strategies for reversing the groundwater depletion in the Punjab region through innovation in agricultural supply chain development for enhancing crop diversification and using financial and climatic risk management instruments.
Dr Sidhu that the goal of the project is to develop and test a model for public and corporate strategies towards sustainable water and production while mitigating financial risks, improving agricultural supply and value chain reliability.
Dr Sidhu added that the project would help promote equitable increase in the livelihood of farmers.
Prof Lall and Dr Kapil Narula from the Columbia University and Dr Sidhu and Dr Kamal Vatta from PAU would work under this project.
The project entails capacity building in economic modelling through exchange mechanism.