Punjab’s Agriculture and Farmers Welfare department on Friday notified various dates for sowing paddy in different districts of the state in view of the current power crisis which has led to blackouts for hours in large swathes of Punjab often.
Paddy farmers require at least 8-hours of power supply daily for running their tube wells daily for watering their crops. A schedule for power supply to various districts has been mentioned accordingly.
Friday’s notification (a Copy of which is with The Indian Express) drew on the powers conferred to the state by sub-section (1) and (2) of section 3 of The Punjab Preservation of Sub-soil Water Act, 2009 (Punjab Act No. 6 of 2009), to fix dates on which farmers could sow paddy.
As per the notification — which was issued by the Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare — most part of Malwa region will have early dates of sowing as they will cultivate the longer duration variants of paddy.
As per details, for direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique, the entire state can transplant paddy from May 20. The transplantation will start from June 18 this year, as compared to June 10, which was the paddy transplantation date in the state for the past couple of years.
Transplantation in Sangrur, Barnala, Malerkotla, Ludhiana, Patiala, Sri Fatehgarh Sahib districts will take place from June 18, while transplantation in Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Faridkot, Ferozpur, Fazilka districts will start from June 22. Transplantation in Mohali, Ropar, SBS Nagar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Sri Muktsar Sahib will begin with June 24, and transplantation in Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran would happen from June 26 onwards.
Accordingly the schedule of electricity supply for paddy sowing under DSR technique, farmers across the state will get 8 hours of uninterrupted supply every alternate day between May 20 to May 31.
Farmers who opt for normal irrigation will get 3 hour power supply from May 31 to June 17. Likewise, the districts which will transplant paddy on June 18 will get 8 hours power supply for 6/7 days till the crop matures. The districts which transplant paddy on June 22, June 24 and June 26 will also get eight hours of supply for 6-7 days from their respective transplantation dates, till the crop matures.
Director of Punjab’s Agriculture department, Dr Gurvinder Singh, told The Indian Express that farmers usually start DSR sowing in the month of May only. “The dates have been set so that we can save both water and power while meeting the needs of the paddy crop. teh aim is to conserve our groundwater by setting the transplantation date close to the rainy season,” Dr Singh said.
Sources said that the government held several meeting with various famer organisations before detrmining the dates for both paddy sowing and transplantations.
Experts from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) have already recommended that paddy be transplanted after June 25
this year, as monsoon arrives in the state by June end and sowing of paddy then can help save ground water.
PAU has already introduced several short varieties of paddy, including PR 126, which matures in 120 days.
Farmers traditionally have been opposed to teh idea of late transplantation of their paddy crops as they claim that it doesn’t give them enough time to manage the stubble.
Jagmohan Singh (Dakaunda), general secretary Bharti Kisan Union-Dakaunda, said that government had failed to manage the power crisis and had been caught on the wrong foot, forcing them to issue such notifications which may not be practical.