By admin       2018-04-06

BATHINDA: Even as the cotton sowing commenced officially from April 1 in Punjab, the state agriculture department is yet to release the list of varieties recommended by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana. PAU-recommended varieties of hybrid BT cotton seed are also approved by the genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC). Neighbouring Haryana had announced the recommended varieties of BT cotton seeds in mid-March and Rajasthan also had released the list earlier this week. Cotton is the second biggest kharif (summer sown) crop in Punjab after paddy. It is grown in southern Malwa region consisting of Mansa, Barnala, Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot and Fazilka districts and in some parts of Sangrur and Moga. Sources in the department attributed the delay to the official red-tape. The file containing list of recommended varieties of BT cotton seeds was cleared by the additional chief secretary (agriculture) Wednesday evening, and the announcement would be made in a couple of days, they claimed. Sources said PAU had recommended 60 varieties of BT cotton seeds, as against 45 strains in the previous season. Sources said in absence of any communication from the Punjab agriculture department, some farmers had brought seeds from Haryana and even non-recommended varieties from Gujarat for sowing, which could be prone to disease and pest attack. When contacted, Punjab director of agriculture Jasbir Singh Bains said earlier PAU had recommended 50 seed varieties but on their recommendation the number was increased to 60. “The list, which was delayed due to unavoidable reasons, will be announced in a day or so. We are fully prepared for the cotton season,” said. “Some farmers might have brought seeds from Haryana as both states normally use same varieties. However, the trend of bringing seeds from Gujarat has decreased in the past few years,” he claimed.

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