Jalandhar, Apr 11 (UNI) In order to check the depleting watertable, Punjab government today decided to issue an ordinance to prevent early sowing of paddy crop in the state.
''The government will soon issue an ordinance to further stop farmers from sowing paddy before June 15 in order to arrest the fast depleting watertable in the state,'' Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah said at a press conference here.
As per the estimates, the groundwater available in Punjab for agriculture purposes is enough only for 10 years and another five years for drinking purposes, the Minister said adding that keeping in the mind the deteriorating water situation in the state, the ordinance is necessary to conserve water so that Punjab should not turn into a desert.
He said the Agricuture Ministry has already forwarded the draft of the ordinance to the Chief Minister for the final approval.
Under the provisions of new ordinance, those farmers, who transplant paddy a month earlier than June 15, would be fined Rs 10,000 per acre and the fine would be Rs 20,000 per acre for those who transplant the crop two months earlier, the Minister said.
Even paddy nurseries would be destroyed by the agriculture department, who would keep a tab on it, he added.
He called upon the farmers to use drip irrigation system for which subsidy of 75 per cent is provided to farmers growing vegetables on one hectare. The subsidy is also avaliable for other crops also, but the minimum acreage limit is 2.5 hectares.
He said to make the farmers aware about various ways and means of water conservation, including sowing crops which need less water, the agriculture department is organising awareness and training camps at district and block levels in the state.
Replying to a query about posts lying vacant in the agriculture department, Mr Langah said the department is filling the posts on contract basis by hiring B Sc and M Sc degree holders.
Concerned about the excessive use of pesticides which are harmful to human and animal health, Mr Langah called upon the farmers to either use manure or vermicompost for growing vegetables.
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