Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Patiala, April 24
The falling water table in the state has forced the state government to delay the sowing of paddy nursery and transplanting it by five days.
A notification by the Agriculture Department has directed farmers to start the nurseries only after May 20 from the previous date of May 15.
Similarly, the date for transplanting paddy has also been delayed till June 15 from June 10. This has been done following recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University and the Punjab Pollution Control Board that the water table was falling by 2.5 feet every year.
Data by the PPCB shows that 14 lakh tubewells in the state draw an estimated 24 million litres of water during this period. Delaying the sowing and transplanting by just five days will save water enough to meet the needs of all the state households for two years.
Kahan Singh Pannu, Chairman, PPCB, said: “We welcome the step to delay sowing by five days. Paddy varieties now grow in less time and hence it should not be a problem.” Noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal has said this was a welcome initiative as the groundwater table in a major portion of the state came under the “dark zone”. As per studies, area under paddy increased from about 2.27 lakh hectares in 1960 to 30 lakh hectares in 2016. And the total irrigated area increased from about 38 per cent to 98 per cent, of which 73 per cent is irrigated by tubewells.
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