In fact Defence Forces have transformed the cold desert area of Ladhak in the extreme northern part of India into a patch of greenery growing fruits and vegetables. This area also has a wide range of agro-animal technologies suitable for high altitude regions.
The two day event concluded on Tuesday with a grand closing ceremony in which the Chief Executive Councilor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Rigzin Spalbar was the Chief Guest. Speaking on the occasion, he highlighted the R&D activities of DIHAR and their role in the socio-economic development of the region. He said that this mela provides unique opportunity for the local people to interact with the DIHAR team and get benefited from the latest agro animal technologies developed for high altitudes. He particularly mentioned about the DIHAR contributions in boosting the vegetable supply to the army, introduction of new fruit crops to diversify the fruit basket, conservation of rare, endangered and threatened medicinal plants, low cost technology for thermal minimal processing, germplasm storage facility at Chang la, boosting the supply of milk and meat and introduction of Zanskar ponies as a transport animal for army in the region. Speaking about seabuckthorn, he praised the role of DIHAR in developing the technologies and emphasized the need of international collaborations in seabuckthorn research.
Speaking on the occasion, Air Cdr S P Waghle specially mentioned the institute’s role towards greening of Ladakh region and beautification of army units. He appreciated the strong collaboration between Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Armed Forces.
Congratulating the gathering on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day eve, DRDO Director for Public Interface, Ravi Kumar Gupta highlighted the importance of self reliance in ensuring our freedom and the role of DRDO in building self-reliance in defence technologies. He appreciated DIHAR’s contribution in development of agro-animal technologies that had led to a marked increase in local production of fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and meat. He also commended the local farmers for quickly adopting the technologies developed by DIHAR.
DIHAR Director, Dr RB Srivastava briefed the august gathering about the major R&D contributions of the organisation. He also mentioned about DIHAR’s future R&D programs especially establishment of ultra-modern greenhouse in collaboration with Russia, upcoming biotechnology laboratory and poultry parental stock facility at Chandigarh, establishment and operationalization of DET at Kargil Sector and sustainable utilization of seabuckthorn under the National Mission on Seabuckthorn.
The event was inaugurated by Lt Gen GOC-14 Corps, Ravi Dastane who lauded the passionate pursuit of DIHAR scientists in creating a self sustaining agro animal ecosystem in Ladakh to ensure food security to the troops as well as local. Welcoming the guests the DIHAR Director said the Kisan Jawan Vigyan Mela was the Raksha Bandhan of Ladakh region since the soldiers, local farmers, and scientists show their solidarity and support to each other and pledge to bring smiles in the region”. Speaking on the occasion Director, Dte of Life Sciences, Dr Ilavazhagan said that DIHAR has led by example since it was the only laboratory of its kind that not only undertakes research activities but also ensures the transfer of its technologies to the users. A galaxy of personnel from armed forces, paramilitary forces and senior officials from the local authorities witnessed the inaugural ceremony.
DIHAR, a DRDO lab situated at an altitude of 3,500 meters above MSL (mean sea level), the world’s highest located agro-animal laboratory, famous for its pioneering work in developing and propagating wide range of high altitude agro-animal technologies in Ladakh region, holds the event annually. This year the event assumed all the more significance as DIHAR is celebrating its Golden Jubilee year with dedicated service to the Nation. In addition to DIHAR, technologies/ products/services related to high altitudes from other DRDO labs, various units of armed forces/paramilitary forces and industry were on display. The mela, which, true to its name, has become the symbol of unique synergy among the Armed forces, the local Ladakhi people, especially farmers and the DIHAR scientists, was attended by over 15,000 people that included over 2500 personnel of armed forces, farmers, entrepreneurs, students and women and children.