Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana

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Department of Soil Science


Department of Soil Science

The Department of Soils owes its origin to the Agricultural Chemistry section of the College of Agriculture at Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) in Pakistan. After the partition, the entire staff in the Agricultural Chemistry section consisted of one Agricultural Chemist and a few instructors who were responsible for imparting instructions in chemistry, biochemistry and soil science. Till early fifties, research in this section was mainly confined to animal and plant nutrition and soil fertility. The research and teaching of soil science started getting emphasis after joining of Dr. S.D. Nijhawan as Head of the Agricultural Chemistry section in 1953. He was succeeded by Dr. J.S. Kanwar, an eminent soil scientist, who very enthusiastically planned and initiated many new research projects and laid strong foundations for teaching and research in the department. The joining of Dr. D.R. Bhumbla as Head of the Department synchronized with the inception of the Punjab Agricultural University in 1962 and the headquarters of the Department were shifted to Hisar campus (now in Haryana) of the university. After the bifurcation of the university in 1970, the Department of Soils at Ludhiana was left with meagre research facilities and a skelton staff. Through the outstanding leadership, devotion and consistent efforts of Dr. N.S. Randhawa, excellent teaching, research and extension facilities were once again developed in the Department of Soils. The department could carve a niche for itself through path breaking and focused research in different spheres of soil science as well as by producing quality human material through excellent undergraduate and postgraduate education.

The achievements of the Department of soils have been recognized in the national and international spheres. The faculty of the Department has won numerous prestigious awards/honours: 8 Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prizes, 3 Hari Om Ashram Trust Awards, 7 Fellowships of the Indian National Science Academy, 18 Fellowships of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 12 Fellowships of the Indian Society of Soil Science. Based on the research carried out in the Department of Soils more than 1800 papers have been published in the journals of national and international repute.

Recognizing the high standards of research and teaching achieved by the Department of Soils, the United Nations Development Programme of FAO established it as Centre of Excellence in Soil Science. Several pieces of specialized equipment such as Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma which can analyze all the plant nutrients and heavy metals from plant and soil samples, autoanalyzers, gas chromatograph, root scanners, rhizotron are available in the Department. Recently, ICAR has recognized the Department as a lead institute for different projects under the National Agriculture Technology Project. The Department has the distinction of being selected as the Centre of Advanced Studies of ICAR. Under this programme, the teaching has been modernized by developing a model lecture theatre equipped with all the modern audio-visual aids. More than 100 scientists from all over the India have already received training in the Department of Soils. Huge funds received in the form of ad-hoc projects funded by ICAR, Department of Science and Technology, USDA, international organization and fertilizer industry is a testimony to the high merits of the Department in terms of scientific calibre and infrastructure quality.

Department of Soil Science
Punjab Agricultural University
Ludhiana, Punjab


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