AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, February 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Some stark facts about SYL canal
G.S. Dhillon
hen Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister Haryana, tells Punjab to "stop fussing" and complete the SYL canal as per the Supreme Court directive to deliver Haryana waters, as it would not only help Haryana get its share of the Ravi-Beas waters, now flowing to Pakistan, but also to prevent like waterlogging in many parts of Punjab, he is far from being "correct".

  • Comments on the apex court’s judgement on SYL
  • Fallacy: "Haryana is starved of water"
  • Areas of Punjab which will get affected if SYL starts operating
  • Conclusion

Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay
asura is a medium-sized broad-leaved deciduous tree. It is found growing not only all over Asia but nearly whole of the globe, especially in tropical regions having the right type of geophysical environment. In the Indian subcontinent, it is seen coming up naturally and growing abundantly from Myanmar in the East to Afghanistan in the West.

Farm operations for February




Some stark facts about SYL canal
G.S. Dhillon

When Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister Haryana, tells Punjab to "stop fussing" and complete the SYL canal as per the Supreme Court directive to deliver Haryana waters, as it would not only help Haryana get its share of the Ravi-Beas waters, now flowing to Pakistan, but also to prevent like waterlogging in many parts of Punjab, he is far from being "correct".

After completion of the Thein Dam, all the flow of the Ravi stand tapped. The portion of the flow joining below Madhopur, through the torrents flowing Jammu area, cannot be tapped as one bank of the river is with Pakistan.

In the case of the other two rivers, the Sutlej and the Beas, all the flow is tapped at Harike to be sent into the off-taking canal system. For even the leakage and seepage water escaping from the Harike barrage, an attempt is made by the Punjab Irrigation Department to catch the escaping water at the Hussainawala headworks and pass it into the left bank canals of the Gang Canal and the Eastern Canal. It would be better if Mr Chautala pays a visit to the area to see this for himself.

Regarding the waterlogging being experienced by the south-western districts of Punjab, it is on account of excessive leakage (not just seepage flow) from the defective canal lining system. It may be said that much against the advise of experts, the Chief Engineer looking after the Rajasthan feeder construction, adopted single tile lining, compared to double tile lining in the Bhakra canal system and the Sirhind feeder.

Compared to the above, the waters of the SYL canal are proposed to be taken to south-western region, parts of which are severely waterlogged. Perhaps Mr Chautala had not just got time to travel along the Delhi branch and see the extent of waterlogging prevailing, as for miles together one can see water hyacinth growth in stagnating waters. This area is just upstream the lift canal schemes. So before advising Punjab, Mr Chautala should settle his ‘own house in order’ by curing the waterlogged areas.

Comments on the apex court’s judgement on SYL

When Chief Minister of Punjab says that not a "drop of Punjab’s river water will be allowed to flow out", he forgets that out of 34.8 MAF flows of the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin, i.e. Sutlej, Beas and Ravi, already 22.8 MAF is flowing out as Punjab is allowed to utilise hardly 12 MAF of water, the rest is being used by the non-riparian states.

Fallacy: "Haryana is starved of water"

As per report published in The Tribune on June 1, 2001, the surface water available to Haryana is 18.75 MAF. It may be mentioned here that Haryana is trying to have the best of three worlds as it gets its due share of the Ganga basin waters through the WYC offtaking from Tajewala on the Yamuna, in addition to run-off from the Aravali hills bordering its south-west areas.

Areas of Punjab which will get affected if SYL starts operating

It should be borne in mind that out of 15 MAF of the so-called surplus Ravi-Beas waters, Haryana is already getting about 1.62 MAF waters through the Bhakra-Narwana branch system which is run to its capacity all the 365 days of the year compared to the contemplated 268 days as provided in the Bhakra Canal Project. Instead of the provided "intensity" of 33 per cent (non-perennial), 45 per cent (resticted perennial) and 66 per cent for perennial areas, the command area is operating on 125 per cent inttensity.

But if all the available Beas waters at the Nangal pond level, amounting to some 3.56 MAF (diverted by the Beas-Sutlej link) is given to Haryana, then not only the Sirhind canal and the Bist Doab canal (off-taking from Rupar headworkrs) will be badly affected but also it will result in further stressing of the declining water-table in the Doaba region.

In addition, the areas intended to be irrigated through the proposed Dashmesh canal would be left out for all times to come. Also the hopes of Chandigarh to get more canal water for meeting its drinking water needs will not materialise as this demand was proposed to be met by the Dashmesh canal.


It may be stated that the two states should put their heads together and try to manage the allocated shares in a better manner, then it would be possible to meet all needs. Secondly, the two states should request Rajasthan to spare one or two MAF flow MAF flow out of the Rajasthan’s allocated share of 8-9 MAF which it cannot utilise in an effective way due to its colonisation programme lagging much behind the schedule, particularly in stage II areas of the Rajasthan canal command areas.

It is for Punjab to stress before the Eradi Commission that Haryana’s allocation must not be stressed to met from the diverted Beas waters, but the allocated share may be earmarked at Madhopur in the case of the Ravi and at Harike/Talwara in the case of the Beas.



Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay

Lasura is a medium-sized broad-leaved deciduous tree. It is found growing not only all over Asia but nearly whole of the globe, especially in tropical regions having the right type of geophysical environment. In the Indian subcontinent, it is seen coming up naturally and growing abundantly from Myanmar in the East to Afghanistan in the West. Its habitat starts at about 200 m above mean sea level in the plains and ascends right up to a height of about 1500 m in the hills.

Keeping in view the numerous utilities of the plant it is widely cultivated in the arid zone too. Its often used scientific name is Cordia myxa and the lesser used other synonyms are Cordia obliqua and Cordia domestica. The local names other than lasura for the species being pidar, panugeri, naruvilli, geduri, spistan, burgund dulu wanan, etc., it belongs to the plant family Boragineae. The species is indigenous to China and is widely cultivated in lower plains and tropical regions. Though this plant flourishes well in deep clayey loam and sandy soils, it does still better in areas experiencing nearly 100 to 150 cm of annual rainfall.

Lasura is a fairly fast growing species. It matures in about 50 to 60 years by when its girth at the breast height is about 1 to 1.5 m. Its bole (main trunk) is generally straight and cylindrical, attaining a height of nearly 3 to 4 m. The branches spread in all directions by virtue of which its crown can be trained into a beautiful inverted dome like an umbrella. When fully grown up, the total height of the tree comes to nearly 10 to 15 m. In less favourable climate and or unfavourable environment, however, it has a lesser growth and may attain a somewhat crooked form. In still worse environment it can even remain stunted like a shrub.

The bark of lasura is greyish brown in colour with longitudinal and vertical fissures. The tree can be easily identified from a distance by observing the fissures which are so prominent in the bark of the main bole of a tree approaching maturity.

The leaves of lasura are broad, ovate, alternate and stalked with the spread being 7 to 15 cm x 5 to 10 cm. In matter of external appearance these are glabrous above and pubescent below. The young leaves tend to be hairy. The fresh foliage is quite useful as fodder for cattle — more so during grass famines. These are also used for wrapping biddies and cheroots.

Lasura tree flowers during March-April. The inflorescence, mostly terminal, is, white in colour. Individual florets are nearly 5 mm in diameter. At places these are somewhat hairy and white. Being a diocious plant, the species bears male and female flowers on the same tree. The calyx part of an independent flower is about 8 mm long and glabrous, but not pubescent. It splits irregularly at the opening of its bud into flower. The filaments are hairy.

The fruit of lasura start appearing during July-August. It is a kind of a drupe, light pale to brown or even pink in colour. The appearance tends to darken when ripening sets in. Being full of viscid glue like mucilage, the pulp is somewhat translucent. When fully ripe the pulp becomes quite sweet in taste and is fully enjoyed by children. The pulp in a half ripe fruit can even be used as an alternative to paper glue in office work.

The half ripe lasura fruit makes a tasty broth which is hot in effect as per ayurveda practitioners. The fruit makes an excellent pickle too which is not so hot. In fact the preserve is quite affective against indigestion.

The ripe fruit are full of vitamins and regular use is supposed to be helpful in good growth of hair. Lasura preparations are, thus, good for people whose constitution might have tendency to go baldy. In addition to fruit, lasura bark and roots are also very effective as a local remedy against cough, cold and various other ailments connected with indigestion and throat problems.

For the purpose of regeneration the ripe lasura fruit are picked from the trees during May-June. The sowing is generally done in polythene bags during June-July. One or two years old plants raised in nursery are transplanted in the field during monsoon.

The lasura tree yields, high quality wood constituting a very good quality timber. It is greyish brown in colour and weighs nearly 15 to 18 kg per cubic foot. It is moderately hard, though not very durable for outdoor work. It planes well to a smooth surface and takes good polish. It is generally used for making ornamental furniture, house posts, beams, scantlings, planks, dugout canoes, boats, tea boxes, cart shafts, axles, yokes, well-curbs, agricultural implements, combs, gun stocks, naves, spokes, etc. It is also used for making quality toys, bowls and wooden utensils for kitchens for handling sour recipes. Since the wood, being light and yet reasonably strong, it is in great demand for ornamental woodwork. It accordingly sells at an attractive price of Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 per cubic foot.

The lasura tree also gives a very cool and comfortable shade during hot summer.

Lastly, as the afforestation of the maximum areas with useful trees is of utmost importance on the Indian scene today, the central and state governments are laying a lot of stress on raising lasura seedlings amongst other economically important species for stocking vacant gaps in the canopy of the existing natural forests. The Forest Departments, therefore, raise sufficient stock of the seedlings of this plant for meeting the requirement of the needy government departments, non-governmental organisations, village bodies, keen individual farmers, etc. Further, with a view to encouraging the people to plant the maximum number of trees, the Forest Departments sell one to two years old seedlings of lasura to the needy people at a highly subsidised rates.



Farm operations for February


— The December-sown wheat needs second irrigation. In the light-textured soil, the third dose of nitrogen may be applied through 27 kg urea/acre after the second irrigation.

— The wheat plants affected with flag smut should be rogued out and burnt to reduce the inoculum potential for next year.

Oilseed crops

— To save the oilseed crops from frost damage, irrigation may be applied at the time of flowering.

— In case a severe incidence of mustard aphid is noticed then spray the crop with 400 ml Metasystox 25 EC/Rogor 30 EC/Thiodan 35 EC/ Ekalux 25 EC/Anthio 25 EC/Malathion 50 EC or 600 ml of Dursban/Coroban 20 EC or 60-100 ml Dimecron/Cildon/Phosolic 85 SL in 125 litres of water per acre. This spray must be carried out in the afternoon when the pollinators are less active.

— To check alternaria blight on raya pods, the crop may be sprayed with 250 g/acre Blitox 50 WP or indofil M-45 in 100 litres of water.


— Sowing of sunflower should be completed at the earliest as delayed sowing causes reduction in yield, and give preference to early maturing hybrids like DK-3890, PAC-302, NSFH-592, GKSFH-2002. Under such situations transplanting of one-month-old seedlings of sunflower hybrids gives better yield than seeding during this month. Late-sown crop also matures late and delays the sowing of the succeeding crop while the transplanted crop matures early. Sow the crop in rows 60 cm apart with plant-to-plant spacing of 30 cm. The sunflower performs better when planted on southern sides of east-west ridges. Place the seed about 6 to 8 cm below the ridge top. Apply irrigation to ridge sown crop 2 to 3 days after sowing. Take care that the water level in the ridges remains well below the seed placement line.

— Treat the seed with Thiram @ 2g/kg of seed before sowing. Two kg of seed is sufficient for sowing one acre.

— Apply 50 kg of urea and 75 kg of single superphosphate at the time of sowing. Also drill 20 kg of muriate of potash on soils testing low in potassium.

— Cut worm damage in sunflower can be prevented by applying 2 litres of Cholorpyriphos 20 EC after mixing with 10 kg of soil at the time of sowing in the field. Crop sown on ridges is also found to be less attacked by this pest.


— The lentil crop may be irrigated for getting better returns.

— Gram caterpillars feed on leaves, flowers and pods. To check them, spray one litre of Thiodan or 100 ml Sumicidin/Fenlik/Agrofen 20 EC (Benvalerate0 or 160 ml Decis 2.8 EC or 80 ml Cymbush 25 EC in 100 litres of water.


— Start sowing of sugarcane from second fortnight of this month, use recommended varieties i.e. CoJ-85, CoJ-86, CoJ-83, CoJ-64 (early maturing), CoJ-82, CoS-8436 for mid season and Co-1148 (late maturing variety).

— The seed selected for planting should be free from diseases like red rot, wilt, smut, ratoon-stunting and grassy shoot. Disinfect cane setts in 0.5 per cent (500 g in 100 litres of water) Agallol 3 per cent or 0.25 per cent (250 g in 100 litres of water) solution of Aretan 6 per cent Bagallol 6 per cent/ Emisan 6 per cent.

— Apply two litres of Lindane/Kanodone 20 EC (Gamma BHC) Emulsion on the sugarcane setts in furrows or apply 15 kg kanodone dust (1.3 DP) at the last ploughing and before planting to control early shoot borer and termite in sugarcane.

— Application of Atrataf 50 WP (Atrazine)/Sencor 70 WP (Metribuzin) or Karmex 80 WP/Hexuron 80 WP (Diuron) @ 800 g/acre as pre-emergence application provide effective control of annual grasses and broadleaf weeds.

— Sugarcane may be planted after applying 65 kg of Urea per acre. Apply 1/3rd N (65 kg urea/acre) at the end of March to the autumn crops.


— Irrigate the berseem and lucerne field 15 to 20 days interval depending upon the weather conditions and soil types. Have regular cuttings of berseem. Avoid delay for next cutting.

— Cutting of lucerne during mid-February should be taken if the crop is to be kept for seed production.

— Make silage of oats in late February or early March when oats are at milk stage if the fodder is surplus.— Progressive Farming, PAU