Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 9
The Punjab Government’s decision to advance paddy date in Punjab, despite concerns over the falling water table, has experts worried as the decision comes despite the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Agriculture Department pressing “for a need to push sowing of paddy only after June 25”.
Recent reports submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) by an expert committee suggest that 14.5 lakh tube wells extract as much water as is required “for domestic consumption by 3 crore population of the state for more than 3.5 years”. Every January, the government announces a date for paddy sowing and the preparations to arrange for additional power and other arrangements, including transplanting paddy saplings, are done accordingly.
Earlier this year, an expert committee formed by the NGT consisting of members from the Punjab Agriculture University, Central Pollution Control Board and PPCB had strongly recommended that the date should be around June 25.
Agriculture experts say groundwater level was falling by 1 metre per annum and early sowing of paddy before this time will “put extra pressure on soil”.
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