Harvesting round the corner, Punjab farmers yet to get DSR incentive

Hundreds of farmers who opted for the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique, promoted by the Agriculture Department in 16 districts with declining groundwater level, are still awaiting Rs 1,500 per acre incentive.

Officials of the department said the field staff had been assessing the DSR crop and the farmers would get the amount once the reports reach the head office.

Aggrieved farmers said, “The paddy sown through the DSR method will be harvested within a few weeks, but the Agriculture Department is yet to release Rs 1,500 incentive.”

Incentive to be transferred after report

Once we receive the report from the field officers, Rs 1,500 incentive will be transferred online to the farmers. Jaswant Singh, director, agriculture dept

As a pilot project, paddy was sown by the DSR technique on 1.5 lakh acre in the 16 short-listed blocks of 16 districts where the groundwater level declined from 21.3 metres to 1.5 metres since 1998. Experts had opined that soil sampling and plummeting groundwater table in various districts were taken into consideration.

“The idea was to get maximum yield by using less water and promote short and medium-duration paddy advised by the Punjab Agricultural University,” pointed out the experts.

On May 15, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had announced Rs 1,500 per acre incentive for the farmers opting for the DSR technique which helps in saving the groundwater in comparison to the traditional water-intensive method.

Farmers rued that it was a tough season for them as weedicides had to be sprayed two-three times and extra labour had to be roped in.

“Initially, there was a flood-like situation due to heavy rain. Later, it hardly rained for almost a month, thus leading to more pest attacks,” said farmers.

Jaswant Singh, Director, Agriculture Department, said, he had already asked the field officers to complete the assessment and submit the report at the earliest. “Once we receive the report, Rs 1,500 incentive will be transferred online to the farmers concerned,” he said.

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