Updated: May 24, 2022 6:09:13 am
Harpal Singh, a farmer of Parbhat Singh Wala village of Jalalabad constituency in Fazilka district, has 123 kanals of land that stretches across the fencing of the India-Pakistan border.
Singh on Monday started sowing paddy on his parcel of land using the DSR technology. And though the Punjab government has given a major push and started offering incentives to farmers who switch to the new method in the upcoming paddy season, Harpal claimed that much of Fazilka had embraced DSR a long time ago. The benefits, he claims are many — including increased yield and need for lesser labour.
“I started following the DSR technique 2 years ago and so far ago it has given me good yields. My yield has increased by 4-5 quintals per acre. This year Rs 1500 per acre is also to be paid by the Punjab government for those who adopt the DSR method. Hence, I decided to continue with this technique. My land stretches across the barbed wire fencing and ends a few feet away from Pakistan,” Singh said.
According to details, in 2021, around 46% of the area under paddy in Fazilka was grown using the new technique, making it the top district in Punjab to have embraced this method.
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“This year, the district aims to increase the area of paddy under DSR to around 60-70%. We started implementation of the DSR method for paddy from land near the border to motivate farmers,” said Dr Himanshu Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner of Fazilka.
Iqbal Singh, another farmer from Parbhat Singh Wala village, whose land also cuts across the fence said, “Farmers having land across the border fence have the flexibility to follow whichever technique they prefer. But we preferred DSR. Other farmers, who have flexible timings to visit their fields, must follow our example.”
Farmers who have land across the border fencing are allowed to visit their fields only between 9 am and 5 pm under strict vigil of the Border Security Force. Work on land across the fence stops at 4 pm daily, with farmers re-entering their villages by 5 pm daily.
Satpal Singh said, “We have limited time to visit our fields across the barbed wires. Hence, DSR technique suits us well as we do not need labour for paddy transplantation. DSR involves minimum usage of labour and and a farmer can monitor his crops on his own.”
Officials said that preparations were underway to launch the DSR technique of farming next in Maujam — which lies right near the Indo-Pak border — and Mohar Jamsher village — the last village of Punjab, which is surrounded by water on three sides and Pakistan on the fourth.
Deputy Commissioner, Dr Himanshu Aggarwal, said,”In Fazilka, we have 3000 acres of land across the barbed wire and we aim to cover a maximum of it under DSR technique.”
Jagdeep Goldy Kamboj, MLA of Jalalabad, said,”Our government took this step to arrest the fall in groundwater level in the state. We hope that maximum number of farmers follow this method while cultivating paddy this year. They can also avail an incentive of Rs 1500 per acre from Punjab government if they switch to DSR method.”
Dr Resham Singh, chief agriculture officer, said, “We are honouring those farmers who had already been following direct sowing of rice (DSR) technique for the last many years.”
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