The cotton crop in Punjab is being severely affected by the intense heat wave in the north of India. After a good blooming period, reports of cotton crop drying up in Mansa and Bathinda districts have begun to trickle in.
A number of farmers have suffered losses as they had spent a significant amount on Bt cotton seeds and fertilisers. They would not be able to sow it again because it is too late now.
The state agriculture department is yet to start a survey to find the area of cotton crop hit by the heat wave. According to reports, cotton plants had been damaged on hundreds of acres in the past four days due to unprecedented rise in mercury.
Lack of canal water supply coupled with unfit underground water for agriculture use in certain pockets of this belt have left the farmers with no other option but leave things to destiny. Moreover, with the irrigation department having begun repair of canals, which is a usual practice during this time of the year, water supply to the tail districts of the state has also been hit.
A farmer said even the canals in the area have been running dry for the past few days despite the fact that cotton growers needed water urgently to irrigate their fields. “Even power supply was erratic and sometime the voltage was too low to run tube wells.”
Farmers of Talwandi Sabo area in Bathinda district had also lodged a complaint with the authorities about irregular water supply in canals.
Balwinder Singh Sidhu, director, agriculture, said that the government is worried about the cotton crop. “We have asked the farmers to give light irrigation but there is no water in some areas. At the same time, paddy cultivation, which begins from today, will also be hit as the demand for water will go up tremendously.”
He added that the department had ensured that cotton belt would get adequate and regular canal water supply from April 18 onwards.