Paddy cultivation in full swing in Karnal villages
Cultivation of water-guzzling paddy is in full swing in several Karnal villages despite government’s orders banning the transplantation before June 15.
Farmers could be seen pumping out groundwater and flooding their fields in Samora, Ramba, Salaru, Darar, Churni and Bibipur villages of Indri and Karnal.
Most of them claimed they weren’t worried about any action against them and were ready to pay the fine of Rs 133 per day per acre than delaying the paddy sowing.
They said they have to clear their fields in September to grow vegetables, which is why most of them sow early varieties of paddy and begin the transplantation in the last week of May and first week of June.
“These farmers own acres of land and are politically connected. It is difficult for officials to take action against them. That is why they start transplantation in the first week of June every year,” said a labourer working for a farmer in Ramba village, pleading anonymity.
Karnal deputy director (agriculture) Aditya Dabas said some farmers had gone for early transplantation fearing labour shortage. “It is difficult to uproot the paddy sown at this scale, but I believe that imposing a penalty is a better option. We have decided to charge a fine of Rs 133 per day for per acre of transplantation and have issued notices to 57 farmers,” he added.
Dabas said notices will be issued to the erring farmers and the fine will be added to their revenue records which will be chargeable whenever they visit their tehsil office.
VIOLATION OF SUBSOIL WATER ACT
The advanced sowing has also exposed negligence on the part of ground-level officials as these farmers have also violated the Haryana Preservation of Subsoil Water Act by preparing nursery beds before May 15. A nursery takes 25 to 30 days before saplings are ready for transplantation.
Karnal deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav said, “A committee comprising the local halqa patwari, sarpanch, a policeman and an official from agriculture department will conduct a village-to-village survey and the transplanted crop will be destroyed to leave strong message.”
As per a recent research carried out by Karnal-based Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, flood-based irrigation is putting enormous stress on the groundwater supplies and paddy alone consumes about 50% of the overall irrigation water.
The research revealed that the yearly dip of about 3ft in groundwater table in north-west India between 1973 and 2001 had multiplied five times between 2000 and 2006 in central Punjab and parts of Haryana.
During 2008-2012, total freshwater withdrawals in India were about 761 billion cubic metre of which, about 90% was used for agriculture, the report stated.