Punjab allows paddy transplantation from June 10

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Chandigarh, Jun 6 (UNI) The Punjab Government has asked farmers to go ahead with the transplantation of paddy from June 10 onwards.

This decision has been taken in view of the recent rains in the state due to westerly disturbances.

Earlier the government had issued orders to the agriculture department not to permit anyone from transplanting paddy before June 15. This decision was taken Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah as early plantation of paddy was having adverse effects on the groundwater table in the state.

The farmers in Punjab had taken to sowing paddy in May despite warnings by experts that the groundwater was depleting at an alarming rate in the state and there was need to check early cultivation of this crop which requires a great deal of water. The state government is contemplating coming out with an ordinance to check early paddy plantation.

The Amritsar Deputy Commissioner K S Pannu was the first to issue orders under section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting transplantation of paddy before May 15. The administrative heads of other districts had followed suit.

Mr Pannu alongwith agriculture officers had toured the rural areas of Amritsar and fields where paddy had been transplanted were tilled or destroyed. In Patiala district too a similar campaign was launched despite opposition from farmers organisations.

Agriculture experts maintain that the steps taken this year would definately improve the groundwater level as by the first week of June, 60 to 70 per cent of the paddy was generally transplanted in the state. The experts have also been encouraging farmers to sow basmati which consumes less water while Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) scientists are laying stress on paddy varieties that consume less water.

The agriculture minister had himself issued strict warnings to the agriculture department to plough all fields where paddy is sown before the stipulated time frame.

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