Aakanksha N Bhardwaj
Jalandhar, May 16
Although paddy planting is more than a month away, some farmers have already started watering their fields without worrying about water and electricity wastage. The state government has divided the state into four zones for staggered transplanting of paddy from June 18 to 24.
The farmers’ action comes even as the government tries to control groundwater depletion. When asked why he was watering his fields now, one farmer said the purpose was to cool the land. In many places, one can see fields filled with water even when agricultural experts say it is not necessary at all.
Chandigarh Dharna agricultural union activists from today
- Farmers associated with 16 agricultural unions will descend on Chandigarh on Tuesday to launch a ‘pucca dharna’ in protest against the paddy planting schedule
- They want the paddy transplant to start from June 10 not June 18, in addition to reducing the fees charged for the increase in electric load
Dr Buta Singh Dhillon, Agronomist (Rice), Punjab Agricultural University, said: “Farmers should rather leave the field open as high temperature at this time will help destroy pathogens.
He further stated that groundwater is declining at a rate of 53 cm per year. “It will not give any yield to the farmers, so they should not engage in such activities,” the agronomist said, adding that in another 10 to 15 days, the rain would irrigate the fields.
Jalandhar Director of Agriculture, Dr Surinder Singh, said camps were being held to inform farmers about the “bad practice”. “We made them realize that watering the fields unnecessarily right now is not right,” he said.
BKU (Doaba) Chairman Manjit Singh Rai said farmers prepare the land early, but it can certainly be avoided. “I want to call on farmers to save water,” he said.