Labour crisis, mechanised sowing picks up in Punjab

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 10

Amid shortage of labour, paddy transplantation machines have come to the rescue of state farmers.

Parminder Singh, who owns over 100 acres in Talwandi Purdal of the Nadala block in Kapurthala, said, “I have bought a paddy transplantation machine for Rs 13.25 lakh and used it over 10-12 acres today.”

Asked if he planned on giving his machine to other farmers on rent, he said, “After I am done transplanting paddy in my fields, I will share it with other farmers.”

Agriculture Department officials in Kapurthala said various farmer groups had pooled money to buy 65 machines. Nazar Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Kapurthala, said, “We are expecting paddy sowing over 1.17 lakh hectares this year.”

Over 45 paddy transplanting machines have been purchased in Jalandhar district under the 40-50 per cent subsidy plan of the Agriculture Department. Dr Surinder Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Jalandhar, said 1.68 lakh hectares of agricultural land was expected to come under paddy cultivation this year in the district and paddy transplanting machines were being bought owing to labour shortage. Sukhminder Singh, a progressive farmer from Dyalpur village in Jalandhar who has bought a machine, said over 60 farmers had contacted him for using it.

Good response from Muktsar farmers

Muktsar: Despite much noise over the exodus of migrant labourers, there is an insignificant rise in labour charges for transplantation of paddy crop in the region. As the transplantation season officially started today, some paddy growers informed that they had struck deals at Rs2,700-3,000 per acre for paddy transplantation, which is just about Rs200-300 more than the last year. Gurdeep Singh, a farmer from Daula village here, said, “A majority of farmers having big landholdings have opted for direct sowing of rice technique this year, thus the labourers who were earlier demanding double money have now agreed to work at almost last year’s charges. The paddy transplantation is underway at an average price of Rs3,000 per acre in our area.” Archit Watts

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