Farmers protest restrictions on paddy cultivation in Haryana

State government wants to encourage crop diversification

Published - May 26, 2020 12:16 am IST - CHANDIGARH

Soil and climate is not conducive to alternative crops, say farmers of Fatehabad district.

Soil and climate is not conducive to alternative crops, say farmers of Fatehabad district.

Several farmers on Monday staged a “tractor march” in Haryana’s Fatehabad against the BJP-JJP government’s decision to restrict paddy (rice) cultivation to a few areas in the State and sought its immediate withdrawal.

“Farmers have started a ‘Kisan Bacho-Kheti Bachao’ campaign and under this over 2,000 farmers from around 50 villages of Ratia block today marched on their tractors towards the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Fathehabad to register their protest against the State government’s decision of imposing restriction on paddy sowing,” said Jasbeer Singh Bhatti, Haryana president of the Rashtriya Kisan Sangathan, who supported the protest.

“Let the farmer decide what is to be sown in the field. They [government] are asking farmers to sow alternative crop such as maize, but soil and climate is not conducive in most parts of the block. Besides, the compensation offered is absolutely inadequate. We want the government to immediately withdraw its anti-farmer decision,” said Mr. Bhatti.

The Haryana government had recently launched ‘Mera Pani Meri Virasat’ scheme, aimed at crop diversification to move away from water-guzzling paddy. Under the scheme, farmers sowing alternative crops other than paddy during the ensuing kharif season will get an incentive of ₹7,000 per acre.

Eight paddy-rich blocks including Ratia, Siwan, Guhla, Pipli, Shahabad, Babain, Ismailabad and Sirsa, where the depth of groundwater level exceeds 40 metres, are included in this scheme.

Last year, the total paddy area of these eight blocks was 2,06,000 hectares, however, this year the government is aiming that to replace 50% of the area (1,03,000 hectares) with alternative crops, including maize, cotton, millet, and pulses.

Congress dharna

Separately, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala led a farmers’ protest by holding a dharna at Guhla-Cheeka in Kaithal district against curbs imposed on paddy cultivation.

A memorandum was submitted to the local authorities demanding the revocation of the order. “The Congress would not let the State government crush the rights of the farmers. The BJP government is working to destroy the farmers by depriving them from paddy cultivation,” said Mr. Surjewala.

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