Farmers on Wednesday organised district-level protests across Punjab, demanding that paddy transplantation dates be preponed from June 20 to June 1. While farmer unions warned of intensifying their struggle by gheraoing agriculture officers, the department refused to entertain their demand.
Jagmohan Singh, president of the Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda) in Patiala, said, “We faced many issues last year when paddy transplanation dates had been kept at June 20. Earlier, June 10 used to be the fixed date for paddy transplanation while two years back it was extended to June 15 and in 2018 to June 20. Last year it caused huge losses for us. There was a dip in temperature in October and in the first week of November, due to which the moisture level in paddy increased a lot and we found it hard to sell it. Many sold it below MSP as well, while it was difficult to manage stubble at that time.”
Raj Akalia, a union leader of BKU (Dakaunda) at Mansa, said, “We want to burn stubble and due to late sowing, we find it difficult as last year there were untimely rains and hence we had to wait, due to which our wheat sowing has been delayed. So we want dates to be preponed.”
Swatantar Kumar, director (agriculture), told The Indian Express, “According to the Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Act which came into force in 2009, we cannot allow transplantation before June 20. Nowadays there are many short duration varieties, hence farmers should not complain, rather they should think about the environment. The date has been fixed at June 20 keeping mind the falling groundwater level of Punjab and farmers need to understand it. We just cannot agree to their demand.”