Noted agricultural scientist Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, who was known for his role in bringing Green Revolution to Punjab, passed away here this afternoon after a brief illness. Kalkat (92) was admitted to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here, said an official release. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh condoled his death. The chief minister described Kalkat as a pioneer who brought several exemplary reforms in agriculture besides green revolution to the state. He said Kalkat’s contribution had ensured overall development and a phenomenal growth in the agriculture sector. Singh recalled his services as the founder-chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, former vice-chancellor of PAU, Ludhiana, and said that Kalkat worked tirelessly throughout his life for the welfare and prosperity of farmers. Kalkat was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his work. Born in Hoshiarpur’s Sahora village on June 17, 1926, Kalkat obtained his BSc Agriculture degree from Punjab Agriculture College, Lyallpur (now Pakistan) in 1947.
As a Rockfeller Fellow, he joined the Ohio State University in January 1957 and completed his PhD in agricultural zoology-entomology in December 1958. He was later honored with the “Distinguished International Student Award” of the university. Kalkat also worked as a senior agriculturist with the World Bank. He was stationed at Washington DC from 1978-1989. During this period, he worked on agriculture and rural development programmes of Nigeria and Ghana and he was a pioneer in introducing shallow tubewells for irrigation and hand pumps for the purpose of drinking water in Nigeria.
He also supervised the implementation of World Bank assisted programmes in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indonesia. Kalkat also held the reins of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana as its vice chancellor from 1998 to 2001. During his tenure, he identified the priority areas to find the problems of farmers and farming in consultation with agricultural economists and farm scientists, a PAU release said. During his tenure as the director agriculture, Punjab and agriculture commissioner/additional secretary, the country witnessed Green Revolution.