CHANDIGARH: Keeping in view the shortage in labourers due to the exodus of migrant workers from Punjab, the state government on Saturday announced an advancement in the paddy sowing and transplantation dates by 10 days.
The sowing and transplantation operations will now begin on May 10 and June 10 respectively as recommended by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU).
Punjab grows paddy in 23 lakh hectors with 6 lakh hector dedicated only for Basmati rice farming. The farmers had raised concerns about meeting the cultivation requirements in view of the labour shortage resulting from the exodus of migrant labourers. Describing these concerns as understandable, CM Capt Amarinder Singh said it was in the interest of the farmers to push the dates ahead by 10 days.
Underlining the need to adopt the latest practice of Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), as well as mechanized paddy transplantation technologies, the Chief Minister directed Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna to harness the services of the extension staff of agriculture department to provide all technical support to the farmers.
The farmers should be helped in making effective use of paddy transplanters and DSR machinery, he said, adding that this advanced technology would be instrumental in filling the gap created by shortage of migrant labourers.
Further, to facilitate timely transplantation of paddy, Amarinder directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to make necessary arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the agriculture sector.
Khanna said that since farmers had adopted short-duration varieties, which mature in about 100 days, shifting transplantation to before mid-June would lead to very early maturation of paddy crop, thus exposing it to vagaries of the receding monsoon in the second half of September. Excessively early transplantation of paddy also leads to depletion of the already precarious water table, he added.
Khanna further said that local labourers were expected to come forward to take up farm jobs during paddy transplantation as had been the case also in the wheat procurement operations.