May 4, 2022

Ministry of Agriculture proposes Punjab government to delay transplanting paddy till June 20

: Department of Agriculture has proposed Punjab government to postpone transplanting of paddy in next kharif season to June 20 to align it with monsoons and save subsoil water by refraining from plant the crop during the peak summer months.

“We recommended June 20 for the start of the paddy transplant and explained to the government the purpose and reasons for the postponement. Our aim is to save subsoil water which is depleting at a rapid rate due to water hungry varieties sown before the onset of monsoons,” said Agriculture Secretary Dilraj Singh.

According to experts and the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), postponing transplanting saves 30% of total water consumption and a huge amount of energy required to operate 14 lakh agricultural tube wells to to dig up water from the subsoil to puddle the fields before transplanting.

“The best time is to align transplanting with the monsoons that hit Punjab in the first week of July, and with this, we can save one-third of the total water used to grow paddy by forgoing transplanting paddy during the summer months of May and June,” said a state agriculture department officer.

Before the start of kharif planting, the state government notifies the start date of paddy transplanting in accordance with the provisions of the Punjab Groundwater Preservation Act, 2009.

It was in 2006 when the state government launched efforts to postpone the transplanting of paddy, which started in Amritsar district in 2007, after which a notification was issued in 2008 and the following year. , a law was passed.

From 2008, despite the opposition of the leaders of the agricultural bodies, paddy sowing was postponed to June 10 and from 2014 it was further extended until June 15, in 2018 it was June 20.

However, in 2019 then CM captain Amarinder Singh moved it up a week to June 13. For the next two kharif seasons (2020 and 2021), the sowing schedule has remained unchanged.

As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) takes over the reins of state, the Department of Agriculture wants to act in a timely manner.

It’s worth mentioning that the state agriculture department also wants farmers to forego sowing long-lived varieties (165 days, including setting up a nursery) such as PUSA 44.

“These varieties consume more water, have more crop residue, take about five months to mature and because at harvest it gives a shorter window for planting wheat, farmers prefer to burn the straw, which poses a risk to the environment,” an agriculture officer said. department.

According to figures from the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission (CACP), one kilogram of paddy consumes 3,367 liters of water. From one kilogram of paddy, 660 grams of rice are produced.

According to a State Department official, short-lived varieties are available for farmers to choose from. The paddy is sown in an area of ​​30 lakh hectares which also includes a premium aromatic basmati variety, the area of ​​which ranges from 3 to 5 lakh hectares.

The manager said that although these varieties give a slightly higher yield, this should not pose a danger to the environment. Of 138 revenue blocks in the state, 109 are in the overexploited category, two are critical, and five are in the semi-critical category, where recharge is slower than use leading to average water d at least 100 centimeters.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is a special correspondent in the Punjab office. It covers agriculture, the energy sector, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.
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