Chandigarh, June 23 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Congress government’s ill-planned decision to delay paddy transplantation in the State had compressed the sowing season and resulted in a steep increase in labour charges for which farmers should be duly compensated.
In a statement here, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said forceful extension of the paddy transplantation season from June 10 to 20 had resulted in a severe labour crisis. “Farmers had entered into labour contracts starting from June 10 which could not be honoured. The migrant labourers who plant paddy first in Punjab before returning home to tend to their fields are now coming to the State in a trickle. This has jacked up transplantation charges by as much as forty percent”, he added.
The Akali leader said this was not all. Farmers were in for further losses. “Late sowing will lead to an increase in moisture content in paddy during procurement besides low yields which will cost the farmers dear. He said farmers who traditionally cultivated three crops would now not be able to sow the third crop due to delay in paddy sowing.
In another important facet, the SAD leader said delayed paddy transplantation would harm the environment and increase pollution levels. He said farmers would not get any time to dispose of paddy stubble and would perforce have to burn the stubble causing an environment crisis in the Northern region.
Keeping all these factors in mind, Mr Majithia said it was imperative that the State government announce a compensation package for farmers owing to the loss caused to them. He said it was important that this package be disbursed quickly as the government’s failure to implement its complete Rs 90,000 loan waiver promise had resulted in a farm crisis in Punjab. “This crisis, which has claimed nearly 500 farmers in the last one year, is likely to become even more severe if paddy farmers are not compensated for the loss suffered by them in the form of increased labour charges and other losses which are in the offing due to skewed policies of the Congress government”, he added.