Deficit monsoon this year is likely to put an immense pressure on the already depleting water table during paddy sowing season. Experts say that there will be a deficit of nearly 5-7% during monsoon in Punjab.
While one travels to the rural areas of Ludhiana, pumps could be seen lifting water from under the ground and bringing it on surface for paddy cultivation. Currently, the water level in Punjab has gone 35 metre down. The water level was nearly three metre in early 1960s.
Paddy cultivation in the state started from June 10 and would be harvested in October.
Paddy fields require a huge amount of water that has put an impact on the water table. For one hectare of paddy field, 50-60 lakh litre water is required depending up on the soil quality.
Experts have also advised the government that the sowing of paddy should start by June 15, as it will enable the underground water table to rise, but nothing has been done in this regard.
Due to the usage of generators and tractors to pump underground water, it is expected that farmers across the state would face lesser profits this year.
GS Bhuttar, head of agronomy department at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), said, “In Punjab, a total of 28.5 lakh hectare of the area is under paddy cultivation. Deficit in monsoon is likely to put a direct impact on the production cost of the crop.”
“While there will be no impact on the yield, but farmers have to use resources that will result in raising the cost of cultivation,” Bhuttar said.
The state government has also announced that there will be shortage of electricity this season. Farmers rue that contrary to the promise of eight-hour electricity supply, they are getting only four-hour supply a day.
DECREASED RAINFALL THIS YEAR
The department of meteorology at PAU has predicted that there will be a deficit of nearly 5% in rainfall this year. Dr LK Dhaliwal, head of the department, said, “495 mm rainfall is normal in Punjab, but that will get reduced to 470 mm this year.
FARMERS USING DIESEL TO PUMP WATER
Santokh Singh, a farmer in Kailpur village near Mullanpur, has installed a generator to pump underground water. He said, “Four litre diesel is consumed in one hour for pumping water, and water is being pumped for nearly 12 hours every day.