Shortage of migrant labourers troubles farmers in district

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Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 21

Though recent showers brought cheer to farmers, a shortage of migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is affecting the paddy transplantation in the district.

Agricultural Department officials said the number of workers coming from other states has decreased in the recent past.

“This year, as the farmers were not allowed to transplant paddy before June 15, the labourers are arriving late as per their schedule,” said Dr Dalbir Singh Chinna, Chief Agriculture Officer.

He said the situation would improve in a few days. The Chief Agriculture Officer said many migrant labourers would come to Punjab in the coming days.

The Agriculture Department also estimates that the area under basmati cultivation will decrease by almost 20,000 hectares.

Last year, famers got low price for their crop and it could be the reason behind the decrease. The area under the paddy crop is likely to increase due to the assured MSP.

Dr Chinna said the farmers were more inclined towards paddy instead of basmati this year.

He said the total area under basmati and paddy would marginally shrink to 1.80 lakh hectares as many farmers were going for various other crops such as maize.

He said this season, pre-monsoon showers has resulted in less withdrawal of groundwater.

“Even the seedlings will be better as in hot weather, the tips of the leaves of seedlings get dry,” he added.

Agricultural officials said the direct seeding of paddy varieties in the district had also increased. The direct seeding helps the farmers save water and input cost. “Our field officers are imparting training to farmers and remain present on the fields during the seeding process,” said Dr Chinna.

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