Farmers defy govt notification, to start paddy sowing from today
Farmer unions in Punjab have opposed the government’s decision to delay paddy sowing by five days, saying it will result in high moisture content in the crop after the harvest.
In April, the state government issued a notification under the Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Act, 2009, fixing the date of sowing paddy nursery for May 20 and transplantation of the crop in the fields to June 20 instead of June 15. The government said the move will prevent desertification of Punjab by saving more than 24 lakh million litres of water in five days.
In 2008 and 2014 too, the government issued notification fixing the sowing dates for June 10 and June 15, respectively. The decision to further delay the paddy sowing is aimed at reducing paddy growers’ dependence on groundwater by aligning the paddy sowing dates with the onset of monsoon.
Farmers unions, however, are seeing the decision anti-farmer, alleging that it will not only impact yield but also wheat to be sown after paddy harvest.
District president of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) Shingara Singh Mann said that union has decided to start protests outside the offices of executive engineers and sub-divisional officers of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) from June 11.
He said delaying in sowing will lead to high moisture content in the crop after harvest and procurement agencies will refuse to lift the crop. Farmers should be allowed sow paddy from June 10 and the government should start providing canal water and uninterrupted power supply for this. He also announced that farmers will resort to paddy sowing from June 10 only.
District president of the BKU (Ekta-Sidhupur) Baldev Singh Sandoha said the union will stand by farmers who want to sow the paddy before June 10. He said that decision to delay paddy sowing will also delay wheat sowing after paddy crop harvest. “The agriculture department didn’t even promote seeds of paddy crop which will take less time to mature,” he said.
Power and new and renewable energy sources minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar on Saturday appealed to farmers not to sow paddy before June 20. He said action will be taken against those who don’t follow the government’s directions.
Bathinda chief agriculture officer Gurditta Singh denied that the delay in sowing will lead to moisture content in the crop. He said those opposing the decision should take advice from the department.