News By/Courtesy: Ambuja Jain | 16 May 2019 11:10am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh made an announcement at an election rally that farmers can sow paddy from 13 June, instead of from 20 June.
  • Punjab’s farmers shifted from their traditional sugarcane-wheat cropping pattern to wheat-rice cropping when the green revolution introduced hybrid seeds to increase productivity.
  • Professor Gian Singh said that this will put further pressure on the already depleted groundwater availability as paddy is not conducive to Punjab’s environment.

Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh made an announcement at an election rally that farmers can sow paddy from 13 June, instead of from 20 June. Amarinder Singh-led Congress government’s decision to prepone the date for paddy sowing may ease the angry farmers ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Though the announcement has brought smiles to the faces of farmers, agronomists like Professor Gian Singh said that this will put further pressure on the already depleted groundwater availability as paddy is not conducive to Punjab’s environment.

Punjab’s farmers shifted from their traditional sugarcane-wheat cropping pattern to wheat-rice cropping when the green revolution introduced hybrid seeds to increase productivity. Till 2007, the farmers could plant paddy whenever they wanted but in 2009, the state government had introduced the ‘Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act’ which allowed farmers to sow paddy from nurseries into the fields only on dates announced by the government. As the elections in Punjab are in the final Phase of Lok Sabha Elections i.e. 19 May, the Congress government obviously felt it had to do something to calm farmers’ anger over the successive state and central governments doing little to solve their problems. The early sowing of the paddy will increase MSP, which in recent years has been going up every year, may appease the farmers to some extent.

Already, the farmers in Punjab are reeling under the burden of debt from banks, co-operative societies, and money lenders. The farmers are infuriated over the Congress government for failing to end the vicious circle of debt despite its claims before the 2017 state Assembly polls. Although the state government had introduced partial waiver but it did not help the large chunk of cultivators who are under debt. It is to be seen that what extent, their anger will be assuaged by the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s decision to prepone the paddy sowing.

Section Editor: Shreyashi Tiwari | 16 May 2019 11:13am IST


Tags : #Punjab #Paddy #Farmers #Groundwater #Depleted #Reserve

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