Chandigarh, May 22:
On the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the State Agriculture department has fixed the target to bring 30 lakh acres (12 lakh hectares) of paddy under Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique during current Kharif Season almost double as compared to last year. The move aimed to conserve the scarce natural resources like underground water and environment through this technology.
According to the spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, Bhagwant Mann, who also holds the portfolio of Agriculture, directed the department to make concerted efforts to bring around 12 lakh hectares under this innovative technology instead of traditional puddled transplanting of paddy this year as DSR needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by 5-10 percent.
To encourage the farmers for sowing paddy through DSR, the State government already decided Rs. 1500 per acre incentive to the farmers for sowing of paddy through this innovative technology. A sum of Rs.450 crore has been earmarked to provide incentive to the farmers for promotion of less water consuming and cost effective DSR technology.
Notably, the farmers from across the state would cultivate paddy including Basmati over an area of 30 lakh hectares (75 lakh acres) during this Kharif season. As per available data, last year 15 lakh acres (6 lakh hectares) cultivated paddy through DSR and this year fixed the target of 30 lakh acres.
To achieve this objective, the state government deputed nearly 3000 officers/officials of various departments including Agriculture, Horticulture, Mandi Board and Water & Soil Conservation to motivate the farmers to adopt this eco-friendly technique. The Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana also provided the one-day special training to the officers of the State Agriculture Department about DSR technology. Apart from this, Village level training camps were also being organized by the Agriculture Department for a cluster of 5-7 villages each.
As per reports that rats damaging direct sown paddy crop in some areas, the Chief Minister directed the Agriculture department to provide rats control pesticides to farmers free of cost. The concerned duty officer of that village will distribute pesticides (Bromodylon / Zinkphosphide) to needy farmers.
Meanwhile, the Director Agriculture Gurvinder Singh informed that DSR technique helps to save nearly about 15-20 percent water as compared to the conventional puddling (kaddu) method during the life cycle of crops.
Pertinently, the alarming situation arises out of fast depleting ground water mainly due to water guzzling traditional method of paddy transplantation needs bold measures to check this serious trend instantly. Currently the water table is falling at a rate of 86 cm per year leading to a precarious situation, where no underground water will be available across the state in the coming 15-20 years.