Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 15
The early morning showers today came as a help for paddy farmers who, as per the government instructions, were allowed to start paddy transplantation today.
The mild showers continued for almost an hour. Hailstones too were reported from few areas surrounding the city. Agricultural experts say they estimate an area of 1.80 lakh hectares to come under paddy cultivation in this season.
Chief Agricultural Officer Dr Dalbir Singh Chinna said, “The showers were certainly of help to farmers. Not only these help in water logging of fields as farmers have to use less ground water, but it also decreases the demand of electricity in domestic sector which helps in providing enough power to the agricultural sector.” He said as per the department estimates, nearly 80,000 hectares area would come under basmati varieties.
Meanwhile, a sudden increase in demand of farm labour is worrying farmers as they complain that inflow of labour from UP and Bihar has declined during the past few years. The State Agricultural Department had introduced machines for paddy transplantation many years ago to solve the problem of labour shortage, but these machines have not caught the fancy of local farmers.
Dr Dalbir Singh said a substantial area has come under direct sowing of paddy which decreases the need for labour. He explains that under direct seeding, the paddy varieties with fast initial growth are directly sown without puddling of soil. “The method has become popular as few farmers had experimented with it during the last year and their results were encouraging,” he said.
Officials of the department said with an increase in the pace of paddy transplantation during the coming days, farmers might face intense labour shortage. They advised farmers to go for transplantation in phases while keeping in mind the availability of labour. Meanwhile, farmers from many villages complained that the promised eight-hour power supply for tubewells had not been provided to them so far.
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