Known as the doyen of chilli breeding programme in India, Dr Jarnail Singh Hundal, former head of department of vegetable science at Punjab Agricultural University passed away in California, USA.
He had joined the PAU in August 1965 as a lecturer in the College of Agriculture.
Dr Hundal contributed immensely to the chilli breeding programme in India with his research work leading to the development of 12 new vegetable varieties, including five varieties/hybrids of chilli (Punjab Lal, Punjab Guchhedar, Punjab Surkh, Chilli hybrids CH-1 and CH-3), four of brinjal (Punjab Chamkila, Punjab Bahar, P-4, Jamuni Gola), one each of capsicum (Punjab-27), Radish (Punjab Ageti) and ridge gourd (Punjab Sada Bahar).
The major contribution of Dr Hundal was the evolution of chilli hybrids CH-1 and CH-3 and male sterile line MS-12 that had brought a chilli revolution not only in Punjab but also showed excellent performance in several neighbouring states such Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Many farmers of the state started producing seeds commercially by adopting the hybrid seed production technology developed by Dr Hundal for the first time in India. The technology went to become a model for the farmers of other states as well.
A dedicated scientist with a very close association with the farming community, Dr Hundal was the recipient of many awards including the Dr Gurdev Singh Khush Distinguished Professor Award, Punjab Government Parman Patta and PAU Gold medal for his contributions in vegetable breeding.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters who are presently residing in the USA. PAU Vice-Chancellor Dhirendra Kumar Tiwari, IAS, mourned the demise of Dr Hundal.