To conserve underground water through direct seeding of rice (DSR) technology, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday approved Rs 1500 per acre incentive to the farmers for sowing of paddy through this innovative technology.
A sum of Rs 450 Crore has been earmarked to provide incentive to the farmers for promotion of less water consuming and cost effective DSR technology.
This step would be instrumental in saving nearly about 15 to 20 per cent water as compared to the conventional puddling (kaddu) method during the life cycle of crops, an official spokesperson said.
“Pertinently, the alarming situation arose out of fast depleting ground water mainly due to water guzzling traditional method of paddy transplantation needs bold measures to check this serious trend instantly. Currently the water table is falling at a rate of 86 cm per year leading to a precarious situation, where no underground water will be available across the state in the coming 15-20 years,” the spokesperson said of the Chief Minister’s Office.
He said it will encourage the majority of farmers to adopt this proven technique which needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by five to ten per cent.
In order to incentivise the farmers going for DSR, the Cabinet also decided to pay the financial assistance worth Rs 1500 per acre to the farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for which Anaj Kharid Portal of Punjab Mandi Board has already database of approximately 11 lakh farmers linked with their Aadhaar details, mobile number and bank account details.
The spokesperson said farmers opting for DSR will have to register their willingness on a portal which will be developed in-house by a team of software developers of Mandi Board.
As per available data, last year the farmers had done DSR over 15 lakh acres area and with the present availability of implements, it can be increased to 30 lakh acres or even more, he added.