Responding to concerns expressed by farmers with respect to labour shortage, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced advancement in the paddy nursery sowing and transplantation dates by 10 days.
The paddy nursery sowing and transplantation operations will now commence on May 10 and June 10, respectively.
The agriculture department had earlier fixed May 10 as the date to begin sowing of paddy nursery and June 20 for paddy transplantation, during the current kharif season.
The farmers had raised concerns about meeting the cultivation/sowing requirements in view of the labour shortage resulting from migrant labourers returning to their homes in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
Describing these concerns as "understandable", the chief minister said it was in the interest of farmers to push the dates ahead by 10 days.
Underlining the need to adopt the latest practice of Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), as well as mechanised paddy transplantation technologies, the chief minister directed Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna to harness the services of the extension staff of the agriculture department to provide all technical support to farmers.
The farmers should be helped in making effective use of paddy transplanters and DSR machinery, he said, adding that this advanced technology would be instrumental in filling the gap created by shortage of migrant labour.
Further, to facilitate the farmers in ensuring timely transplantation of paddy, Amarinder also directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to make necessary arrangements for facilitating uninterrupted power supply to the agriculture sector in this period, as per an official release.