An inter-state surveillance meeting on cotton crop was organised at Bathinda Saturday in which officials from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan participated to take stock of the white fly menace. It was the sixth such meeting this cotton season. In Punjab, officials categorically said that apart from pesticides, shortage of water was a major problem faced by cotton farmers.
Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, director, agriculture, Punjab said, “I visited villages such as Kallerkhera, Maujgarh, Gumjal etc in Abohar area and found that farmers were facing shortage of even drinking water, let alone water for irrigation. Canal water is insufficient for the cotton crops in far-flung villages. This issue needs to be resolved. We have spoken to the irrigation department regarding this.”
On Friday, there was a clash between two groups of farmers in Muktsar after allegations that water theft from a canal was leading to water shortage. The cotton belt of Malwa region is dependent upon canal water as ground water is unfit for irrigation. On Friday, farmers had complained to Amarinder that they were getting shortage of water for drinking as well as irrigation purposes and irrigation department was abruptly closing canals twice a week in the name of canal cleaning during irrigation season.
Agriculture officials from the three states categorically maintained that the next 25 days were crucial for the cotton crop and special care needs to be taken. Nearly one-lakh hectare area under cotton was sown late and hence it needs to be monitored on a regular basis, said Dr Bains.