By admin       2018-05-17

May 17, 2018 - BATHINDA: Even as the ideal time to sow cotton, which is Punjab’s second biggest kharif crop, came to an end on May 15, the area covered under the crop remained less than half of the targeted acreage in the state. According to the data compiled by Punjab agriculture and farmer welfare department, the crop has been sown on 1.84 lakh hectares against the target of 4 lakh hectares. Experts said cotton sown after the ideal time is prone to pest attacks. Agriculture department officials said sowing was delayed due to unavailability of canal water in most areas of the cotton belt. Canal water was made available in Bathinda and Mansa districts on April 21, it reached Muktsar and Fazilka districts only on April 29 in lesser capacity. These four districts are the key cotton growing areas of Punjab. Sources in the agriculture department said achieving the targeted area of cotton seemed improbable given the slow pace of sowing. Till April 30, the crop was sown only on 9,600 hectares whereas in 2017 it was sown in 22,000 hectares in the corresponding period. As per the data procured from the agriculture department, only Bathinda district has witnessed sowing in nearly 63% of the targeted area of sowing whereas in other cotton sowing districts, the sowing is less than the half mark of the targeted area. “Non-availability of canal water till end of April delayed sowing. We kept on waiting for the canal water. And even when it was released, it was in less volume that posed problems in sowing the crop,” said farmer Bhupinder Singh of Khuian Sarwar village of Fazilka. Harnek Singh of Lambi village in Muktsar said the late release of canal water delayed cotton sowing in his area. Sukhdev Singh, joint director, Punjab agriculture department, confirmed that late release of canal water had posed problems for cotton growers. He said, “The department is concerned as sowing has been done in less than half of the targeted area. The department expects brisk sowing in the next few days as delayed sowing of the crop makes it prone to pest attack.

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