As Punjab government claimed that wheat sowing was in full swing, the environmentalists found something to cheer.

Punjab Agriculture secretary KS Pannu on Saturday disclosed that wheat had been sown in 33 lakh acres till Saturday, and the state was set to meet its target of completing the sowing of Rabi crop in 87 lakh acres out of total 104 lakh acres cultivated land.

The state had been in the centre of the storm for stubble burning, whose hazards were reportedly felt across northern India, including the capital Delhi.

Till recently thousands of farmers had burnt paddy stubble, notwithstanding ban on it. They had defended their action by putting the blame on the state, citing that financial assistance was not provided to them to adopt environment-friendly measures for farm waste management.

Pannu, while sharing information on sowing of wheat, stated that Punjab government had ensured all the arrangements for sowing of wheat, including assured supply of power for irrigation, regular canal water supply and making 4.50 lakh tonnes of DAP fertiliser available to farmers. He said 2.84 lakh quintal certified wheat seed was also being given to small and marginal farmers at a subsidy of Rs 1,000 per quintal.

The sowing of wheat starts from the last week of October and continues till end of November, he said adding that 33 lakh acres, which has been already sown, is equal to the area sown last year under wheat crop till 10 November.

Reaffirming the government’s commitment to persuade farmers towards balanced use of fertilisers, Pannu shared that a dedicated campaign had also been launched for educating the farmers about the benefits of optimum use of fertiliser under which farmers are being asked not to use more than one bag of DAP in an acre for wheat sowing.

For the first time about 13,000 direct wheat seeding machines have been deployed to sow wheat without burning the paddy straw and the farmers have been using these machines very enthusiastically, Pannu added.