With several states facing 'deficient' rain, Punjab has estimated farmers' expenditure on crop sowing to go up by Rs 500-700 crore because of higher spending on diesel for irrigation during the ongoing Kharif season.
"There will be an additional burden on farmers for crop sowing (in the current kharif season) because of the rising expenditure on diesel to irrigate crops, especially paddy (which requires water for growth)," Punjab agriculture director MS Sandhu said on Friday.
Though Haryana has not yet assessed the increase in farmers' expenditure, it is of the view that additional expenditure, including power purchase, for the agriculture sector could exceed Rs 400 crore if rain continued to be 'weak'.
Both states have demanded additional power supply from the Centre for the agriculture sector so that farmers could complete sowing Kharif crops. It has been estimated that farmers had to spend an extra Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per hectare on paddy crop for irrigation particularly in the wake of poor rain and severe power shortage in both states.
In Punjab, diesel sale in June - the month when paddy-sowing season begins - shot up 18 %. Punjab and Haryana had 70 % less rains from June 1 to July 19, statistics said.
Expressing concern over 'weak' rain, Haryana agriculture secretary Roshan Lal said: "As the power tariff has increased (this time), the additional expenditure (on farming in case of weak rain) could be more than Rs 400 crore."
Lal, however, said the state was yet to assess the additional expenditure incurred by farmers.
Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to participate in a meeting called by the Centre on Friday to discuss a contingency plan in the wake of the deficient rain.
Haryana is demanding additional power supply of 1,000 MW for July and August, and 500 MW for September and October. Punjab has also demanded 1,000 mega watts (MW) from the Centre for providing 8 hours of electricity to farmers.
The problem for both states has aggravated after Bhakra Beas Management Board recently reduced water supply to Punjab and Haryana by 10%. The reduction in water supply to partnering states means that farmers would get less water for irrigating their crops. Moreover, the generation of power by BBMB has also gone down.