The allotment of new tube well connections coupled with fall in area under cotton cultivation this season is going to hit the Punjab government’s efforts of crop diversification and to reduce the area under paddy cultivation in this region of state.
hough the Punjab government has set the target to reduce the area under paddy from last year’s 29.75 lakh hectares to 27.1 lakh hectares, the districts in this part of Punjab are witnessing a rise in the area under paddy cultivation. At least the districts of Bathinda, Muktsar and Moga are witnessing an increase in area under paddy crop this year, while in districts such as Mansa and Faridkot, the area under paddy is expected to remain same.
Chief agriculture officer, Bathinda Nachhttar Singh Aulakh, the area under paddy cultivation in the district is set to increase this year. Aulakh said that compared to last year’s 1.35 lakh hectare area under paddy cultivation this year about 1.60 lakh hectare is expected to be under paddy cultivation. He said that the allotments of new tube well connections and fall in area under cotton cultivation are major reasons behind the rise in paddy cultivation.
Similarly in Muktsar district, the officials are expecting an increase of about 20,000 hectares area under paddy crop this year. As per Muktsar CAO Beant Singh compared to last years’ 80,000 hectares, the area under paddy crop is expected to go above 1 lakh hectare as per the assessment done on the basis of sale of seeds.
In Moga district also, compared to last year’s 1.80 lakh hectare area under paddy, this year 1.90 lakh hectare area is expected to be under the crop. Though, agriculture officials in Mansa say that due to farmers opting for other crops the area under paddy would almost remain same as was last year but it wouldn’t witness any fall either.
Director agriculture, Jasbir Singh Bains said that cotton belt districts are expected to witness a rise in the area under paddy crop this year but expressed that the department would compensate for this increase in other parts of Punjab by promoting other crops. He too attributed the reason for increase in area under paddy in these districts to new tubewell connections and fall in area under Cotton.