The News Scroll 10 June 2020  Last Updated at 7:48 pm | Source: PTI

Paddy sowing begins in Punjab amid labour shortage

Paddy sowing begins in Punjab amid labour shortage
Chandigarh, Jun 10 (PTI) Farmers began sowing paddy in Punjab on Wednesday with the state government encouraging them to opt for direct seeding of rice, a less labour-intensive method, amid a scarcity of workers.

The government''s target is of 27,00,000 hectares of paddy sowing and it shall be achieved with the help of rural and migrant labourers available, officials said.

Labour charges for paddy transplantation during the current Kharif season have doubled to Rs 5,000 to 6,000 per acre in several parts of Punjab, as many migrant workers had returned to their native places in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Facing labour shortage, growers at many places in Punjab have been trying to woo back migrant workers by offering them advance payment, more charges and train tickets for their return.

Some have even arranged buses to bring back workers from their native places.

"Many farmers are making arrangements for bringing migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh through buses for paddy transplantation," Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) President Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said.

The farmers said they would have to spend extra this season on labour charges for paddy transplantation.

In some villages of Punjab, panchayats have passed resolutions on fixing labour charges for paddy sowing in the wake of doubling of rates, farmers said.

They said at some places a fine had also been proposed for defying the resolution on fixed labour charges.

Paddy transplantation is a labour intensive exercise in which at least two-three workers per acre are required.

Meanwhile, the opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday sought Rs 3,000 per acre compensation for growers for bearing the additional cost of paddy transplantation.

Punjab government is also betting big on the Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) method for sowing amid labour scarcity. It is anticipating nearly 25 per cent of the total area to be sown with the DSR method.

Under this method, paddy seeds are drilled into the field with the help of a ''Lucky Seed Drill'' machine which does seeding of rice and spray of herbicide simultaneously.

It saves irrigation water, labour and energy as compared to the conventional method of paddy transplantation.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday had assured uninterrupted eight-hour power supply to farmers for paddy transplantation.

The CM had also appealed to paddy growers to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols during the Kharif season. PTI CHS VSD AD

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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