PSCST is coordinating the setting up of Mohali Biotechnology Park in Knowledge City, Mohali. It is a joint project of Department of Science & Technology (DSTE), Govt. of Punjab and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Govt. of India being developed through public-private partnership for promotion of biotech industry in the State. The Section 25 (non-profit) Company (named Mohali Biotechnology Park) incorporated jointly by DSTE-GOP and DBT-GOI to oversee development of the Park has held its first Board meeting, opened its bank account and obtained Permanent and Tax Deduction & Collection Account numbers. Further, DSTE-GOP has transferred 74.55 acres land to the Company which would further lease out 69.55 acre to the selected developer as per the terms of Project Development Agreement to be signed in near future. Also as per the decision of Council of Ministers, it would work out modalities for providing 1 acre land to PBTI for quality testing & certification laboratories and 4 acres to DBT-GOI for Biotechnology Incubator. Presently, Mohali Biotechnology Park is being serviced by PSCST.
The Tariff Commission functioning under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India is an expert body to make recommendations on tariff and tariff related issues for trade of goods & services in view of India’s larger economic interests and international commitments. The Commission has on its roll experts in the field of science & technology, cost accounting, economics & statistics and undertakes studies on specifically identified issues. The Chairman, Tariff Commission had urged Govt. of Punjab to utilise the expertise of Tariff Commission for carrying out need based studies. Accordingly, the matter was pursued and the Tariff Commission has agreed to take up 3 studies in the areas relevant to the State. The Council developed the detailed concept notes including background, relevance and scope of work for these studies and would be providing technical support to Tariff Commission wherever required. These include one study each on ‘Comparative performance of biofertilizers and biopesticides with their chemical counterparts in terms of usage, efficiency and cost effectiveness’. The scope includes data compilation on country status in terms of state-wise usage, identification of states having highest usage & reasons thereof, status & scope of their usage in Punjab, mode of availability to end-users, quality control mechanism in the country in general and state of Punjab in particular. The study would also include comparative assessment of biofertilizers & biopesticides with chemical counterparts in terms of cost economics & environmental cost and would indicate the gap areas & recommendations.
The scope of third study ‘Economics of utilization of bioresources (medical & aromatic plants) in the State of Punjab’ includes data compilation on medicinal & aromatic plants (MAPs) being cultivated, area under their cultivation, source of planting material, availability / adoption of appropriate agri-technologies, status of processing of MAPs, cost economics, market potential, quality control mechanism, research & development and other initiatives. The studies have been initiated by the Tariff Commission at their own cost and are scheduled for completion during 2012-13.
A project has been undertaken in collaboration with Department of Microbiology, Punjab Agricultural University for promoting production of natural vinegar and Non-Alcoholic Naturally Carbonated (NANC) beverages from local bioresources. The project has been funded by Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and the activities taken up under it include:
The primary fermentation using Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 35 followed by secondary fermentation with Acetobacter aceti NRRL 746 under batch conditions (50L scale) yielded average vinegar (with acidity 4.5-4.8% w/v) recovery of 70-80% in 22-28 days. The efforts are being made to achieve reduction in fermentation time by optimizing agitation rate during primary fermentation (using indigenously developed ‘Tullu pump’ reactor), recycling of vinegar batches (replacement of 2/3rd volume of produced vinegar with ethanol) and immobilized cell culture i.e. semi-continuous culture using cells adsorbed on wood shavings.
Further, out of various yeast isolates studied for production of NANC beverage, strain 84 – Clavispora lusitaniae EF221824 has yielded the best results in terms of carbonation level (1.5 bar) and ethanol content (0.7% v/v) especially with 3 commonly available varieties of amla. The fermentation parameters for NANC beverage production from carrot and amla juice blend as well as the shelf life studies are in progress.
As presently there are no manufacturing units for natural vinegar and NANC beverage production in Punjab, as per project mandate, PSCST is setting up two demonstration units, one at Talwara (within the processing facility set up by the Council in collaboration with Unati Cooperative Society) and the other at Science Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park, Thapar University, Patiala. The natural vinegar production (at 50 L batch scale) from sugarcane has been initiated at Talwara. Further, experimental studies have also been taken up for production of vinegar from a by-product of the processing unit i.e. amla candy syrup and the results are very encouraging. The technical personnel of STEP, Patiala have been trained and they will be organizing workshops on both the tehnologies for prospective entrepreneurs in near future .
Awareness and Training Programmes:
Five awareness programmes and two training workshops on said technologies were organized for members of primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmers and women SHGs of districts Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar, Bathinda and Ludhiana.
Dhar block of district Gurdaspur falling in Kandi area of Punjab is primarily rainfed, has small land holdings, undulating topography and problems of soil erosion, lack of soil moisture, low fertility, frequent attack of stray animals on cultivated land because of natural pastures having been infested with Lantana weed. Hence, the returns from agriculture are meagre. The per capital income of Gurdaspur is, in fact, the lowest of all the districts of the State. In view of this, farmers of Dhar block had urged Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India to suggest S&T interventions for socio-economic development of the area. Thus, Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India planned to initiate an end-to-end demonstration project in farmers’ field to demonstrate the feasibility of cultivation of selected aromatic crops in this block.
As PSCST had the experience of successfully implementing DBT supported project for promoting cultivation & processing of medicinal & aromatic plants in Talwara block of Kandi area, DBT invited Council to take up the said project in collaboration with Kelkar’s Scientific Research Centre (KSRC), Mumbai. KSRC has standardized protocols for cultivation and post-harvest processing of various aromatic crops and have demonstrated the same in various parts of the country. DBT-GOI provided project formulation budget and has also sanctioned the project at a total cost of Rs.143.83 lacs (budget allocation to PSCST : Rs. 85.61 lacs) for 4 years duration. The project involves standardization of agro technologies under local conditions for five aromatic crops viz. Lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) and Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens); demonstration on 50 acres at farmers’ fields, capacity building of farmers, setting up two distillation units for value addition through extraction of essential oil and arranging marketing tie-ups for its buy-back through Unati and Keva Biotech, the industrial arm of Kelkar group.
Under the Neem Project supported by Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India for promotion of neem biopesticide, bioefficacy studies have been carried out in collaboration with PAU for evaluating the effect of Neem Kernel Aqueous Extract (NKAE) on pests of key crops of the state viz. wheat, mustard, cauliflower, pea, cotton, paddy, okra, cabbage / cauliflower & chilli. In view of the promising results against wheat and mustard aphid (Rhophalosiphum maidis, Lipaphis erysimi), one season field trial data has been generated as per protocol of Central Insecticide Board to facilitiate registration of NKAE for use against these pests. The trials were conducted at farmers’ fields at 9 locations covering 5 districts: Amritsar, Ludhiana, Fazalika, Bathinda & Mansa for wheat aphid and 7 locations covering 5 districts viz. Amritsar, Mansa, Fazalika, Ludhiana, and Patiala for mustard aphid using different concentrations of NKAE along with recommended controls. The pooled analysis of experiments have shown significant reduction in the mean number of both wheat and mustard aphids at 5% NKAE treatment after 3 and 7 days of spray, suggesting NKAE @ 5 % can be effectively used for management of aphid in wheat and mustard as component of IPM. Further the experiments revealed positive effects on crop yield and no adverse effect of NKAE on Coccinella septumpunctata, the natural predator indicating its safe nature.
In an attempt to promote healthy menstrual practice among rural women, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India has got a prototype developed for production of low cost sanitary napkins from cotton knitwear waste through Lady Irwin College, Delhi. The quality attributes of napkins have been found to be at par with major brands of sanitary napkins available in Indian markets. DST- GOI has initiated an All India Coordinated Project to set up pilot scale manufacturing units for field testing of this prototype in different parts of the country and involved Punjab State Council for Science & Technology as nodal agency for Punjab and has sanctioned budget of Rs. 11,73,178/- to the Council forthis project of 2 years duration. The Council is implementing the project in collaboration with Department of Clothing & Textiles, PAU. An orientation workshop for all the participating organizations was organized by DST-GOI wherein issues regarding sourcing of machinery, raw material and marketing strategies for effective outreach were thrashed. The pilot unit under the project is being set up at Ludhiana for operationalisation by a women SHG, the members of which have been provided hands-on training. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by all the units for manufacturing & packaging of napkins under this All-India Coordinated project are being developed by Lady Irwin College.
Genetic disorders (congenital malformations / birth defects) are the anomalies that result in early infant mortality / varying degrees of disability. About 8 million children worldwide are born every year with serious birth defects. In India too, more than half a million infants having congenital malformations are born every year. Based on a pilot genetic literacy project having been taken up earlier by PSCST, DST, GOI has sanctioned a new project to the Council to study the prevalence and spectrum of genetic disorders among SC population in the state, assess the existing genetic literacy level among them, sensitize them about the causes & possible scientific interventions for prevention of genetic disorders and evaluate the impact thereof. As Amloh block of district Fatehgarh Sahib has high SC population (> 50%), the project is to be implemented in four villages of this block. The project has been sanctioned by DST, GOI under ‘Special Component Plan’ for SC population. The total project cost is Rs.10,35,320 and project duration is 2 years.
PSCST, in collaboration with, Unati Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society Ltd., Talwara had taken up a DBT-GOI supported project for promoting cultivation & value addition through post harvest processing of bioresources (medicinal, aromatic & horticultural crops) in Shivalik belt. DBT, GOI supported the project for the period 2004-07. Subsequently, with vigorous efforts, the processing unit set up under the project was made self-sustainable and a 3 years’ agreement was signed with Unati for its operationalization which has been renewed this year for a period of ten years. During the last year, the local bioresources processed at the unit included 340 MT of Emblica officinalis (190 MT wild, 150 MT varietal); 85 MT Momordica charantia and 6 MT Tinospora cordifolia that generated about 2400 man days’ work for local community especially women. The products generated are finding better in-roads into market each day. Further, lemongrass cultivation & processing is being promoted under the project. This year, 950 kg lemongrass oil could be extracted by the farmers for which marketing was provided through Unati.
Information resources on leading issues, events and ideas on climate change.
Knowledge base of the current trends and practices on sustainable building design.
Knowledge City is a mega initiative of the State Government Coordinated
Platforms to engage young people and make themaware on environmental issues.
Conservation of Biological Diversity of Punjab by implementing the Biological Diversity Act 2002.
At the forefront of Sustainable Change