Paddy cultivation in Haryana may soon reduce if a government plan works. Under this first-of-a-kind plan, farmers have been incentivized to produce other crops. Alarmed by the depleting water table in certain regions of Haryana, CM Manohar Lal Khattar-led government has announced that it will give Rs 10,000 per hectare to farmers who switch their paddy farms to crops like maize, pulses or oilseeds in the upcoming cultivation season. The pilot plan is currently to be rolled out in seven blocks of seven out of the 22 districts in Haryana.
The chief minister of Haryana said that this a unique scheme in the country and Haryana would be the first to implement it. CM Manohar Lal Khattar also said that the project will be first launched in Assandh, Pundri, Narwana, Thanesar, Ambala, Radaur and Ganaur blocks which cultivate paddy on about 2 lakh hectares land. These 2 lakh hectares also account to about 45% of non-basmati paddy.
Haryana is one of the top ten rice-producing states in India and around 13.5 lakh hectares of its land is cultivated under this crop (which is over 38% of Haryana’s total cultivated land). With the incentives, the government looks to convert about 50,000 hectares of this land for other crops. Haryana’s Kharif season will begin next month.
Haryana CM has also said that the state needs to actively engage in saving water and electricity which can be achieved by venturing into crop diversification. While maize and pulses were major crops in Haryana in the 1970s, these crops were replaced by paddy and wheat which strain water levels.
The scheme is the brainchild of Haryana’s Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department which has formulated it keeping in mind the interests of farmers and Haryana’s depleting water levels, The Indian Express reported. The seven districts that fall under the scheme are Yamunanagar, Ambala, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind and Sonipat. Majority of Haryana’s paddy is grown in these districts.