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Farmers in flood-hit Punjab prop up each other with free seeds

Many farmers have come up with idea of setting up paddy nurseries to give seeds for retransplantation to the flood-affected growers in Punjab

Team Parvasi – Inside

Farmers in flood-hit Punjab prop up each other with free seeds
Chandigarh: Their own crops damaged in floods, several farmers in Punjab are now propping up their fellows, giving them free seeds to sow in their fields. Farmer Baldev Singh, whose own paddy crop was ruined in the flood in the Shahkot area of Jalandhar district, is offering seeds of short-duration PR 126 variety to the flood-affected growers free of charge.

“I have 70-80 quintals of PR 126 variety of paddy seeds with me which I am offering free of cost to flood-hit farmers,” Baldev Singh from Shahkot’s Gatti Raipur village told media.

“We know the pain of farmers and it is very difficult to spend again on buying seeds for resowing,” said the farmer who is now getting calls from several growers from Fazilka and Hoshiarpur and also nearby areas for seeds.

Baldev Singh lost his paddy crop grown over 50-60 acres in the floods that swept the state last week.

Shahkot area in Jalandhar was one of the worst affected areas in the state. The matter there was worsened after a 350-feet-wide breach in an earthen embankment along the Sutlej river in Lohia block’s Mandala Chhanna area let the river water in.

The breach was later plugged with the help of volunteers led by Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Singh Seechewal.

Many farmers like Baldev Singh, as also farmer bodies, have come up with the idea of setting up paddy nurseries to give seeds for retransplantation to the flood-affected growers in Punjab.

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Kulvir Singh, a farmer from Muktsar district which was not hit by the flood, has given more than four quintals of seed of PB 1629 basmati variety to several growers free of cost.

“I wanted to help other farmers who suffered crop damage because of rains,” said the farmer from Virk Khera.

Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh Lakhowal said farmer organisations in Punjab are setting up paddy nurseries over 100 acres of land and are also giving fodder and silage for cattle after green fodder was damaged in the flood-hit areas.

State-owned Punseed (Punjab State Seed Corporation) chairman Mohinder Singh Sidhu said they have set a target to give 3,000 quintals of paddy seeds to the affected growers.

“We have already given 1,000 quintals of seed,” he said.

He said the agricultural department, Punseed, and Punjab Agricultural University are also preparing paddy nurseries of PR-126 variety and 1509 basmati – to be procured from private traders – for the flood-affected farmers.Punjab grows paddy over 30 lakh hectares and is a major grower of crop in the country.

Several districts of Punjab and Haryana were battered by heavy downpour last week that left normal life paralysed and flooded vast tracts of residential and agricultural land.

Though water has receded in many areas of Punjab and Haryana, authorities were still engaged in relief work and also plugging breaches in ‘dhussi bundhs,’ or earthen embankments, that came up along the Ghaggar river.

NEWS

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