45% paddy still to be sown, erratic power supply hurting farmers
Chandigarh The state agriculture department has said that incase power supply remains erratic, it will adversely impact paddy sowing. In a communication to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), the agriculture department has reiterated its demand for 8-hour uninterrupted power supply for agriculture feeders. To date, paddy has been sown on 17 lakh hectare and at least 45% (13 lakh hectare) of total 30.2 lakh hectare is to be sown.
The demand for power is expected to rise further when basmati sowing begins from second week of July. Officials in the department said farmers are already in a fix over erratic power supply.
“Paddy sowing, including premium variety basmati, will continue till July-end. The crop needs irrigation, which continues till September, so during the entire season agriculture feeder needs 8-hour supply,” said agriculture director Sukhdev Singh Sidhu.
“Every year, ahead of paddy sowing season the state government issues a notification asking the PSPCL to give uninterrupted 8-hour supply,” added Sidhu.
BLEAK MONSOON PREDICTION ADD TO WORRY
The meteorological department has predicted a bleak monsoon for the state. Department director Surendra Paul said no rain was predicted before July 10. There may be scattered cases of thunderstorms in some parts of the state, but rain was likely in the second week of July.
The communiqué added that with the monsoon a few days away, farmers’ dependence is largely on ground water which is extracted with the help of tubewells using electricity. There are 14 lakh agriculture tubewells in the state, and at least 73% of the state agriculture is dependent on groundwater.
The southwest of the state that is Abohar, Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozpur districts are dependent on the canal water for irrigation. Sirhind feeder, Ferozpur feeder and Bathinda branch supplies water for irrigation.
DIESEL WORTH RS 1,800 NEEDED
FOR PUDDLING AN ACRE
Agriculture department officials said that in the absence of regular power supply, farmers are depending on diesel operated motors to run tubewells for irrigation.
“A 25 horsepower motor (the most common in the state) installed on tubewells to extract water consumes six litres diesel to run for one hour and one acre requires tubewell to operate for at least three hours. Total diesel consumption is 18 litres for puddling in one acre,” said an officer of agriculture department, adding that going by cost of diesel, farmers who are not getting regular power supply had to spend ₹1,800 on diesel for sowing one acre.