Dr. B.L. Chona (Bihari Lal Chona) was born at Sanghoi, District Jhelum (now in Pakistan) on 24th September, 1906. He completed his school education in Rawalpindi and then moved to Lahore. He earned the B.Sc. degree with Botany and Zoology as major subjects from Punjab University in 1926. To prosecute further studies in his chosen field of Plant Pathology in 1927 he moved to Imperial College of Science and Technology, London and worked under the able guidance of Prof. William Brown F.R.S. on physiology of fungi which got him the degree of Ph.D. in 1930. He continued to work there as a Research scholar before returning to India in 1932.
After a brief stint as Research Scholar at the Punjab Agricultural College and Research Institute, Lyallpur, in 1933, Dr. Chona joined Agra College, Agra as Lecturer in Botany. In 1936, he was appointed Sugarcane Plant Pathologist at the Indian (then Imperial) Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi to conduct research on sugarcane mosaic, which had posed a serious threat to sugarcane in different sugarcane growing countries in the world especially nearer home in Java & Sumatra (now Indonesia). Through a careful and meticulous survey, he established that mosaic was not a serious problem in India as the Indian sugarcane varieties were resistant to the pathogen. From 1962 to 1965 Dr. Chona was Head of the Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology at IARI and after retirement became visiting Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Later, he became Adviser to the Government of Ghana and helped in establishing an Agricultural Research Station Ghana (Africa) till 1972. During his service at the IARI. Dr. Chona was on deputation for six months (1947-48) to Ministry of Education Government of India and then as State Mycologist and Professor of Plant Pathology at Bihar Agricultural College, Sabour for almost two years. In 1953, he was deputed to U.S.A. under TCM programme to study Mycological and Plant Pathological Techniques at the various Universities and Research Institutions. He represented India at the Commonwealth Mycological Conference held at London in 1960.
Dr. Chona was member of several learned scientific societies. He was a founder member and Honorary Fellow of the Indian Phytopathological Society, President of the ninth International Society of Sugarcane Technologists held at New Delhi in 1956, President of the Indian Phytopathological Society (1957) and President of the Agricultural Sciences section of Indian Science Congress 1961.
He delivered 17th Mundkur Memorial Lecture of Indian Phytopathological Society during 1980.
Dr. B.L. Chona passed away on 23rd December, 1994.