Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 6
Paddy growers in Haryana will have to make optimum use of water for paddy cultivation with the Haryana government putting in place a stricter policy for rice shoots for the kharif season-2020.
Now, strict norms will govern obtaining the rice shoots—temporary openings on water channels for paddy crop—by farmers during the upcoming kharif season with no new rice shoots allowed on any main line, branch line or feeder channel.
The policy, released on June 3, said a maximum of 25% additional discharge would be allowed in the Western Jamuna Canal System, during the kharif season. The highest number of rice shoots, both traditional (in existence for three years) and new rice shoots, are allowed in the Western Jamuna Command area, considered to be the rice bowl of the state.
Similarly, only 10 per cent of authorised discharge would be made available for rice shoots in the Bhakra Command System for the upcoming kharif season.
“Increased requirements of drinking water in rural and urban areas now require the state to undertake measures to reduce water consumption in agriculture without comprising on productivity,” the policy said justifying tough measures on water conservation during paddy production.
Agriculure Minister JP Dalal said the state government was committed to optimum use of irrigation water, especially during kharif season. “With that end in mind the government had recently come out with “mera paani, meri virasat” to encourage crop diversification especially to discourage water-guzzling paddy,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the policy made it clear that “there shall be no shortage of water at the tail-end when the temporary rice shoots are sanctioned. “No temporary rice shoots will be sanctioned to persons found guilty of unauthorised irrigation in the past five years,” it said.
The minimum area for a temporary rice shoot will be 20 acres, out of which at least 25% of the area will have to be of non-paddy crops. No rice shoots will be allowed to the cultivators cultivating “satthi” paddy (60-day crop) as this variety has already been banned by the Haryana government.
“One kg rice consumes 5,000 litres of water.”
Officials said research had shown that a kilogram of rice production consumed over 5,000 litres of water stretching the logic to the extent that Haryana indirectly exported its water even at the peril of future generations.
What are rice shoots
Rice shoots are temporary openings on water channels for cultivation of paddy crop. The rice shoots are exclusively given for irrigation of paddy crop from two major canal systems—Western Jamuna Canal System and the Bhakra Command System.
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