Union agriculture minster Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday expressed concerns over depleting ground water level in Punjab. Over the last few years, the excessive use of tubewells have resulted in ground water falling across the state from 1.2 metres in some areas to 2.5 metres at others.
Speaking at the regional editors’ conference here, the minister stressed on the need to manage and conserve water during the critical state. Singh said water management and conservation should be the top priority of the Punjab government. He urged the government to optimise the use of water with techniques like micro irrigation.
Agriculture in Punjab is over 42 lakh hectares, of which around 11 lakh hectares is irrigated through canal water, while remaining is irrigated through tubewells. There are a total of 15 lakh tube wells – 13 lakh electricity-operated and 2 lakh diesel-operated – in the state. The state government has sanctioned another 1.25 lakh new tube wells.
The minister added that the government is working to connect all mandis to the national platform to ensure better prices for the farmer. By next year, all 585 mandis in the state will be linked to the platform, he said. To ensure credit reaches farmers, he said, the government is trying hard towards financial empowerment.