Defying order, farmers start paddy sowing 10 days ahead of official date

By Times Of India on 12 Jun 2018 | read
BATHINDA: Openly defying the orders of the state agriculture department to starting paddy sowing from June 20, many farmers -- supported by various farmer organizations -- on Sunday started sowing paddy at various places across the Malwa region.

The farmers collectively started sowing paddy at villages Bhainibagha, Khillan, Ralla, Lalluana and Khokhar in Mansa as well as Kotda, Phool, Miserkhana, Maur Khurd, Jhumba, Raike Khurd, Kothaguru, Lehra Mohabbat and Tungwali in Bathinda.

Reports of paddy being sown ahead of the set time also poured in from villages in Barnala, Sangrur and Muktsar. Farmers have also announced to start protests at the offices of Punjab state power corporation limited from Monday, seeking 8-hour uninterrupted power supply for agriculture so that they could sow paddy easily.

The state agriculture department, however, has directed farmers not to sow paddy before June 20. The department has also announced to act against violators under Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009. As per the Section 7(1) of the Act, any farmer who contravenes the provisions of this Act shall be liable to a penalty of ten thousand rupees for every month or part thereof per hectare of the land till the period such contravention continues.

Aiming to provoke farmers to start sowing from June 10, an audio message by a teenager son of a farmer from a Bathinda village has gone viral.

Water guzzling paddy is expected to be sown in 30 lakh hectares in Punjab. Going by the fast-depleting underground water table state government has fixed June 20 to start paddy sowing. According to agriculture department officials, 1 acre of paddy consumes 60 lakh litres of water until it matures and 1kg paddy uses 2,500 litres of water.

Farmer Gurtej Singh of Bhainibagha, who owns 15 acres of land, sowed paddy in part of his field on Sunday. He said, “We could not wait for June 20 to sow paddy as crop sown late does not fully mature in time for procurement. So, I started sowing from today”.

Farmer Mohinder Singh of the same village, who has 10 acres of land, too started sowing paddy in his fields. He said the moisture content in late sown paddy remains high and famers have to face hardships in selling it.

BKU Ekta Ugrahan general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said, “We support releasing of power supply for agriculture sector to sow paddy. Our activists will start protests from Monday if power is not supplied and we are committed to sowing paddy from today onwards”.

Meanwhile, Punjab agriculture and farmer welfare department director J S Bains said the entire department was on its toes to motivate farmers to not start sowing before the fixed date. Awareness camps are being held too he said, adding, as some farmers are learnt to have start sowing the field, officials have been directed to act as per law against violators.