The detail action plan prepared by Punjab government to revive cotton crop seems to have not gone well in Muktsar and Fazilka districts as the cotton sowing has been majorly affected in around 90,000 hectare of area in both these districts due to unavailability of water in distributaries of Sirhind canal.
Ironically, the cotton growers of Muktsar district, in which Lambi constituency, represented by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, falls, is one of the major sufferers. The tall claims of state government to provide timely water supply have fallen flat as three of the minor canals—Lambi, Bhagsar and Arniwala—have been shut down due to renovation purpose.
These canals cater irrigation facility to around 45,000 hectares in Muktsar district and 40,000 hectares of area to be covered under cotton crop in Fazilka district. The irrigation department was expected to release water by April 25.
With sowing season at its peak, the renovation of these minors is still on and the irrigation department has turned deaf to repeated communiqués from agriculture department to release water at the earliest.
Muktsar’s chief agriculture officer (CAO), Beant Singh, said there was no sowing of cotton so far in the villages, which are totally dependent for irrigation through these minor canals.
“The farmers have no option than to wait for availability of water in these minors”, Singh said, adding that 78,000 hectare areas has to be covered this season. He added that angered over delay in release of water, the farmers have started boycotting teams of agriculture department, which visited farmers for training camps. “Though the sowing must be done before May 15, but we can only ask farmers to delay sowing by May 20 at maximum. The delayed sowing may increase chances of pest attack in the crop”, he said.
The CAO added that the farmers cannot do irrigation with ground water due to poor quality of water.