No rains, farmers worried about another crop loss
All eyes are set on the sky, but there are no signs of relief for the farmers, especially the paddy growers who are worried as the state is heading towards drought-like conditions in absence of rains.punjab Updated: Jul 04, 2015 19:22 IST
All eyes are set on the sky, but there are no signs of relief for the farmers, especially the paddy growers who are worried as the state is heading towards drought-like conditions in absence of rains.
Even as 20 days have passed since the paddy transplantation started officially, but huge chunks of land in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Jind and Bhiwani remain unsown and the farmers are waiting for the rainfall to go in for transplantation.
"We have not grown paddy as the fields are dry. Heavy rainfall is required to prepare the fields for the transplantation. If there are no rains, we have to keep our fields unsown as there are no alternative resources of water in the area", said Devender Sharma, a worried farmer of Ladaut village of Rohtak. "This will be the third crop loss in a row if our fields remain unsown".
Another reason of worry for the farmers is that paddy saplings are getting matured as they fail to transplant these in time.
"Paddy saplings get ready for transplantation in 30 days and we had sowed them around May 15, so that it could get ready by June 15. But there were no rains by that time and we are waiting for the mercy of rain gods for the past 20 days. The saplings are getting matured. These would not remain worthy of transplantation if another week passes without rains", he added.
FARMERS ALLEGE POOR GOVT MANAGEMENT
Amid the poor monsoon, farmers are also complaining about the government's poor management to deal with the crisis. "Four days of July have passed, but there is no water in the Baloth branch yet. We have heard that the water will not come in this drain in the next 15 days. It will be difficult for us to protect our crop for another 15 days", said Narender, another farmer of the district.
Similar problems are being faced by farmers in Sonepat district. "There is no water in Butana distributory this time even as we had raised this issue with the local officers at Gohana several times. They did not take steps to clean the drain. Also, the government has not released the water in these drains adding to the woes of the farmers", said Satyawrat of Kathura village of Sonepat.
COSTLY DIESEL ADDING TO FARMERS' WOES
The hike in diesel price has added to the woes of the farmers , who have to spend more to pump out ground water with diesel pumps. "We don't have electricity connections on our tubewells. In the lack of rains, we are totally dependent on the diesel pumps. As the diesel price has increased, we have to spend `60 per hour to run diesel pump and it takes 4-5 hours to irrigate one acre every day", said Narender.
"We cannot nurture our crops with diesel pumps, we are spending to protect the crop from heat till the rain comes", he added
Large tracts of farmland remain unsown
A poor rainfall will not only affect the farmers, but it will also affect the rice production in the state, as a considerable fall in the acreage under paddy is likely. According to the figures given by state agriculture department, the acreage under paddy may fall to 11.50 lakh hectare this year, against the target of 12 lakh hectare set by the state agriculture department as large tracts of farmland remain unsown. Last year, the paddy acreage in the state was 12.28 lakh hectare.
"More than 80% farmers of our region depend on the Butana distributory, but there is not even a single drop of water in this drain this year. Our fields will remain unsown if the ongoing conditions persist for few more days", said Suraj Bhan, another farmer of the region.
ALTERNATIVES NOT PROFITABLE
Though the government is spending crores of rupees to encourage farmers to go for alternate crops by breaking the traditional wheat-paddy cycle, but the farmers are not ready to adopt the alternatives as they say, "Bajra and Jowar are the only alternatives of the paddy, but these crops are not profitable as they yield `8000 to Rs 10000 per acre while the production cost is between Rs 4000 and RS 5000.