Dhanauri (Punjab), Sep.5 : While floods have caused havoc in north Bihar marooning millions of people, farmers in Punjab's Dhanouri Village have made a fortune of it, by using the floodwaters for lotus cultivation.
Sukhwinder Singh of Dhanouri has demonstrated by personal example how to make best use of the devastating floods.
"We did not earn profit in cultivating rice. We suffered a loss in that. The floodwater destroyed the rice crop. So we started lotus farming. Lotus is sold as a flower and it is used as vegetables also. Even its stem can be made use of. We earn Rs.50,000 profit in one Qila (land measuring unit)," said Sukhwinder Singh, a farmer.
Agricultural experts also agree that lotus thrives in flooded fields.
"So far it is not cultivated on a regular basis but if it becomes successful as Sukhwinder Singh has shown the path , it could be a very good venture in water logged areas where water remains standing and other crops cannot be grown more successfully," said Milkha Singh, Dean, College of Agriculture.
The lotus is planted in two seasons. Stagnant water or flooded fields are ideal for it. The crop is ready in five months and can be harvested twice a year. The root is in great demand in local vegetable markets.
Stagnant water in fields and areas near water channels are best suited for lotus.
While the root is in great demand as a vegetable, the lotus flowers are a favourite in temples all over the country. y Karan Kapoor