Paddy sowing begins in Punjab, Haryana

 

Chandigarh, June 15 (IANS) Paddy transplantation has started in food grain states Punjab and Haryana, agriculture department officials in both states said on Monday.

The transplantation is likely to continue for the next 15-20 days.

Both state governments had issued a ban on farmers from sowing paddy before June 15.

Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh reviewed arrangements for the crop sowing on Monday and issued instructions to power department officials to ensure eight-hour power supply to farmers in the state.

“The state government is fully prepared to meet the challenge of deficit monsoon and the irrigation department has been directed to run all canals to the full capacity so that farmers at tail end could get full water supply for their crop,” the minister said here.

The paddy crop requires constant watering of agricultural fields for the first few weeks.

The Punjab government has been urging farmers to shift from the wheat-paddy crop cycle. Farmers are being offered schemes to diversify especially from cultivating paddy since the crop requires lot of watering and power supply.

Under its agriculture diversification mission to conserve depleting ground water, the Punjab government has announced that area under water-gulping paddy cultivation will be cut from the present 26.50 lakh hectare to 14.50 lakh hectare.

The reduced area of 12 lakh hectare is being shifted to alternative crops like maize, sugarcane, cotton, pulses, fruits and vegetables, besides agro-forestry in next five years, said an official spokesperson of the agriculture department.

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