Punjab Government Pushing Towards Crop Diversification Due to Depleting Water Table

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led Government is pushing its farmers to refrain from paddy/wheat sowing in the State. Water Table in the state has been depleting due to sowing of water guzzling crops like paddy and wheat. The Government is asking farmers to grow Maize, Cotton, Sugarcane and other coarse grains that use less water during crop cycle process. Underground water in the state has been over exploited for growing of kharif crops with majority of farmers growing paddy in the state. Most farmers in the state own tube wells for irrigation purpose and as the government provides them with free electricity they are bound to over exploit the resource. The statistics given below will further give an analysis of the problem:

Number of Tube Wells in 1960s – 60000 approximately
Number  of Tube Wells today – 14,00,000 approximately

As per reports by Niti Ayog, if current water usage patterns continue in Punjab, the state will run out of water by the year 2039

Average yearly fall

Average yearly fall in water table in most districts in Punjab is at 0.37m every year. Groundwater Quality in Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur districts is not fit for direct human consumption

The Punjab Government has just guided the arranging office to arrangement brought together arranging and observing division for assortment of information on crop planting designs in the state.The centralised planning division will further market schemes in the state to support farmers who opt for crop diversification. The Panchayat Land auctioned for agriculture might face a ban in sowing of Paddy throughout the state. This was a much-needed move by the Punjab Government that is a little late to be honest. Haryana Government started crop diversification initiative in May this year. Most farmers were yet to sow the kharif crop and the Haryana Government introduced MSP and free insurance schemes for alternative crops to support sowing of maize, cotton, etc. This led many farmers to adopt less water consuming crops from paddy for the new harvest. Situation in Punjab is completely opposite where Basmati Paddy sowing area has increased by more than 10% according to data published by the agricultural department.

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