Despite ban by Punjab Govt, PUSA 44 seeds readily available in market : The Tribune India

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Despite ban by Punjab Govt, PUSA 44 seeds readily available in market

Despite ban by Punjab Govt, PUSA 44 seeds readily available in market


Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, April 21

It was with much fanfare last year in October that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had banned the PUSA 44 variety of paddy in the state. This was done to stem the extraction of groundwater and also to ensure that there is less stubble in the fields after harvest.

Rice millers ‘misleading’ farmers

  • In Bhawanigarh, a message is being circulated by rice millers, appealing to farmers not to go for PR 126 variety (recommended by the Agri Dept), but sow PUSA 44
  • The message reads that millers suffered huge losses last year when they bought PR 126 as it had a low outturn ratio of rice; grains were discoloured and had high broken percentage
  • However, Tarsem Singh Saini, chief, Punjab Rice Millers’ Association, denied that the association supported or promoted the use of the banned paddy variety

Nearly seven months down the line, the seeds of this water-guzzling variety of paddy continue to be easily available to farmers for sowing. As this is the time when farmers purchase the seeds for the next paddy crop, farmers from across the state have told The Tribune that the seeds were freely available at all private shops, giving an impression that the variety is not banned.

What is worse is that some of the commission agents, who own rice shellers too, are encouraging farmers to buy and sow this variety. They reason that the quantity of broken grains in the shelling of this paddy variety is much less and it has a high outturn ratio of rice.

Tarsem Singh Saini, president of Punjab Rice Millers Association, denied that the association supported or promoted the use of the banned paddy variety. “Some commission agents who also own rice shelling units are doing this. But, there were issues last year, and millers suffered huge losses. Maybe some spurious seeds were sold as PR 126 last year, which is why the outturn ratio was less and millers have had to buy rice from outside and give it back to the government at the specified outturn ratio of 67 per cent,” he said.

Kulwinder Singh, a farmer from Nadampur village of Sangrur, said though PUSA 44 was not available in Krishi Vigyan Kendras or in the government stores, it was available in the open market. “It has a 130-day maturing period and consumes a lot of water. But encouraged by the rice sheller owners, farmers are again going in for this variety.”

Reiterating similar sentiments, Darshan Singh Kularan of Kularan village near Samana said many farmers had the seeds of this variety from the previous years and would sow PUSA 44 again.

Director (Agriculture) Jaswant Singh told The Tribune that the government had asked the farmers to “avoid” sowing PUSA 44 variety. “We have come to know about some rice sheller owners encouraging farmers to sow the variety and we are looking into this. We won’t allow anyone to sell the variety in the state,” he said.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Bhagwant Mann #Groundwater


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