|AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE||Monday, June 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Majha’s long wait for additional canal water
useful trees and plants
Majha’s long wait for additional canal water
THE khara Majha is a sub-tract and is located on the south-western end of the Majha tract. It comprises the blocks of Patti, Khem Karan, Valtoha and Sarhali. This tract has the peculiar characteristics that its groundwater is highly saline and unfit for drinking and irrigation, whereas in the rest of the Majha tract the groundwater is termed "sweet" and it is used extensively for irrigation with the result that a severe groundwater decline is being registered in this area.
The farmers of the khara Majha are highly active politically and many national leaders have come from this area, a notable example being Partap Singh Kairon. Despite this, the area continued suffering from many "ailments", and one of these being chronic canal water shortage in the irrigated area of the khara Majha tract.
As this area is located at the tail-end of the most of the canal systems serving the area and the groundwater being saline, the long-standing demand of the khara Majha tract has been the grant of increased canal water allowance.
After a long struggle, the demand for increased canal water allowance has been accepted and in October last year, the then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced that the canal water allowance of khara Majha had been increased from the present level of 3.5 cusecs to 5.5 cusecs per 1,000 acres at the distributary head. This means an increase of 57 per cent in the volume of water received at the outlet head.
On previous occasions too, the farmers of the area had been promised a similar increase, but this time the things looked different because the government had framed a project which would cost Rs 180 crore and it was reported to have been approved by the Central Government as well. Also, special staff had been posted for executing the project.
The remodelling project would bring an additional area of 1.75 lakh acres and would increase the water allowance of the rest of the tract to 4.5 cusecs from the existing 3.5-cusec level per 1,000 acres at the distributary head.
This remodelling work should have been completed by now so that the stored supplies of the Thein Dam could be used in the tract. But now the farmers will have to wait for many more years till the remodelling gets completed.
The announcement by the Chief Minister provided an occasion for the farmers of the khara Majha to celebrate. But nobody has told the farmers that the programme requires remodelling of the outlets i.e. increasing their capacity by 57 per cent only now is the reality dawning upon them.
Problems faced by the project:
During 1980s the khara Majha tract came to be covered by the remodelling project (phase I) of the World bank and the channels below the distributary head were lined i.e. the distributary and minors delivering waters to the outlet head were provided with bricklining. Even the water courses of the area have been lined.
For increasing the capacity by 57 per cent, the water way in the lined system would have to be increased by the corresponding amount as it would not be possible to change the gradient or the water surface slope of the lined channel.
The distributary system has been provided with the "cup shaped" section (V-shaped sloping sides and U-shaped circular arc bed), in which it is not possible to increase the water way area without dismantling nearly half of the channel section. Similar problems are likely to be faced in the case of the lined water courses.
An additional problem is likely to be faced while making alterations to the outlets because for the cup-shaped section special outlets have been designed and provided which cannot be altered easily.
Had the channels been unlined with conventional outlets of type design APM or Broad flume, these could be altered by changing the position of the cast iron block for which only a small amount of masonry needs to be dismantled. The alteration of the outlet capacity is a routine job handled after each hydraulic survey of the channel which need to be carried after a specified interval. But alteration of the new outlets provided in the cup-shaped section is nearly impossible and have not been attempted so far.
It would be better if the farmers are actively associated with the remodelling work so that their objections, if any, are removed right at the construction stage rather than have the farmers reject the work when they are handed over the project after completion. If the participation mode is adopted, the farmers will be kept away from the disappointment or disillusion. They should be clearly told by which date they would start receiving the increased water supplies.
In concluding it may be stated that
though on account of the works carried out earlier during the phase I
modernisation project completed in the 1980s, the task of delivery of
additional canal water sanctioned under the increased canal water
allowance has become difficult but not impossible.
useful trees and plants
SPRUCE is a tall, handsome, evergreen pine tree of temperate and arctic regions. Its scientific name is Picea smithiana. The family is Coniferae. Spruce being the English name of the species, its regional names are rai, kachal, raiang, etc. Its natural habitat falls more in the middle and inner ranges of the Himalayas and less in the higher reaches of the outer ones. The species grows naturally in the Himalayan tract starting from Sikkim in the east and rolling over west wards up to Afghanistan. The usual altitude of its occurrence ranges from 2300 m to 3300 m. It does well on clayey loam soil with a fairly good moisture content.
Spruce tree can be easily identified in the field from its drooping branches whorled on all sides of the main stem and the tips of the branch-lets drooping downwards. The bole is straight and erect. The canopy starts at nearly middle of the total height of the bole and tapers to a narrow end towards the top. The full crown tree thus emerges out as a typical pyramid shaped canopy.
The bark of spruce is smooth, off white to greyish brown, 1 to 2 cm thick, exfoliating in small circular flakes measuring about 2 to 3 cm in diameter.
The usual associates of spruce in its natural habitat are tosh (Abies pindrow), kail or blue pine, deodar, poplars, akhrot, salixes, maples, acers, texus, betula, etc. The middle storey of the spruce has shrub-like wild rose, deutzia, berberis, principis, etc. The species is seldom found growing in gregarious stand.
The leaves of spruce, dull green in colour, needle-like in shape, are 3 to 5 cm long and spirally arranged in all directions of the twig. New sprouts keep appearing and old leaves getting detached and shed almost simultaneously throughout the year. The phenomenon puts the species in a class of evergreen trees.
The flowers of spruce are small in size and hardly visible. These appear during March-April. The pollen grains disperse during April-May. The fruit, drooping cones, appear during July-August and ripen by the following August-September to yield good viable seed. The seed is about 2 mm long and 1 mm thick, has a wing which helps in its dispersal over long distances in the fields.
Spruce is a slow-growing pine. Like other sibling pines, it has annual rings of growth, which help in assessing the exact age of a particular tree. It attains maturity in about 120 to 150 years when its height is about 30 to 40 m and girth about 2 to 3 m. The wood is off white in colour with a brownish tinge. It is comparatively light (14 to 15 kg per cubic foot) in weight and quite elastic in texture. The wood being straight grained, it is easy to saw, plane, polish and use for joinery. It is good for all kinds of wood work. However, it has hardly any life when exposed to the vagaries of weather, especially under water. Its knot-free logs are highly prized for the timber required for building aircraft. The rest of the wood, whether knotted or free of the lacuna, is highly prized for packing cases, making cheap furniture, bedsteads, drawing boards, plane tables, roof ceiling, wall planking, shingles, paper pulp, matches, etc.
So far as regeneration of spruce is
concerned, it needs an absolutely undisturbed environment for the new
crop to come up naturally. As per the existing practice all spruce
forest areas requiring regeneration are closed to exercise of all
kinds of rights and even departmental exploitation. And with a view to
making the regeneration foolproof, the foresters generally raise
seedlings of the species in departmental nurseries and transplant
these in the field when these are nearly two years old.
— Start sowing maize from the beginning of the month in the submontane districts or areas which are prone to damage by water stagnation. If there are no weeds and stubbles of the previous crops then maize can be sown without preparatory cultivation. For weed control, use Atrataf 50 WP (Atrazine) @ 800 g/acre in heavy textured soils and 500 g/acre in light soils in 200 litres of water within 2 to 3 days of sowing. Atrazine/Atrataf at the recommended dose can also be used as post-emergence application up to 10 days after sowing.
— Treat the seed with Bavistin/Agrozim @ 3 g/kg seed before sowing.
— Maize can be sown in trenches. This practice saves irrigation water and protect the crop from lodging.
— If maize is to follow wheat which received recommended dose of phosphatic and potassic fertilisers, then apply only 37 kg of urea per acre to hybrid maize and 25 kg of urea per acre to local and Megha varieties. If farmyard manure has been applied at the rate of 6 tonnes per acre, then there is no need to apply the fertiliser at the time of sowing maize crop. Maize responds to organic manures, so farmyard manure or compost may be applied to this crop.
— Maize borer feed on growing point of plant and form dead hearts. Control this pest by spraying 40 ml Sumicidin 20 EC/Ripcord 10 EC or 80 ml Decis 2.8 EC in 50 litres of water per acre. Spray work should be initiated when the crop is 2 to 3 weeks old.
— Sowing of AL-201 and AL-15 variety of arhar should be completed during first fortnight of June, whereas mash and moong sowing, particularly on light-textured soils should be started from last week of June.
— Weed in moong can be controlled with Stomp 30 EC @ 1.0 litre/acre applied within 2 days of sowing of the crop or Basalin 45 EC @ 600 ml/acre applied before the sowing of the crop. Herbicide should be sprayed by dissolving in 200 litres of water.
— Grow variety SL-295/PK-416 of soybean resistant to yellow mosaic virus, using a seed rate of 25-30 kg/acre.
— To supplement the nitrogen supply to the crop, seed of soybean should be treated with specific bacterial culture at the time of sowing. If soybean is being sown for the first time in the field, use the bacterial culture.
— Treat soybean seed with Captan or Thiram @ 3 g/kg of seed against soil borne disease.
— Sow the crop in good watter with a pre-sowing irrigation during the first fortnight of June. The crop should be sown in lines 45 cm apart.
— In this crop, weed can be controlled with the use of Stomp 30 EC @ 600 ml/acre as pre-emergence application i.e. within one or two days of sowing. Dissolve the recommended quantity of herbicide in 200 litres of water per acre and spray it uniformly.
— To get higher yield, apply 4 tonnes of FYM/acre to the field. At the time of sowing, apply 25 kg of urea per acre and 2 quintals of single superphosphate. If some other source of phosphate fertiliser is to be used, then apply 50 kg of gypsum as well Soybean needs 150 kg of superphosphate when follows wheat which had received recommended dose of phosphorus.
— Berseem crop for seed production may be harvested and threshed to save it from being damaged by rain.
— Kharif fodders sowing at regular intervals may be continued for continuous supply of sufficient green fodder. Irrigate the fodder crops regularly.
— Harvest the green fodder at optimum stage of harvesting to provide maximum nutrients to animals for cheap milk production and save concentrate.
— Progressive Farming,