Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 28
The Haryana government, on Thursday, softened its stand on restrictions on paddy cultivation and issued new guidelines.
In the previous order of May 9, for implementation of ‘Mera Pani Meri Virasat’ scheme, the government had said the farmers had to diversify at least 50 per cent of their cultivated paddy area by growing alternate crops in those blocks where groundwater level is greater than 40 metre (8 blocks- Ratia, Siwan, Guhla, Pipli, Shahbad, Babain, Ismailabad and Sirsa).
The order had also said all those farmers who were operating their tube-well with 50 hp electric motor would not be allowed to grow paddy. But now, new guidelines say that these conditions are of only of advisory nature.
The area under paddy in the eight blocks in the previous season was 1,79,951 hectare.
Earlier, it was mentioned that the farmers who would diversify less than 50 per cent of their paddy area in eight identified blocks, where water table was greater than 40 metres, would not be eligible for availing any subsidy from the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department.
It was also pointed out that for such farmers, paddy would not be procured by the state government agencies. But now, in the new guidelines, there is no mention of this condition.
The May 9 order, which was issued from the Director-General Agriculture to all deputy directors, had also said in agricultural lands of gram panchayats in various blocks, where ground water level was 35 metre, the panchayat would not permit paddy growing in their lands. This condition has been retained in new guidelines.
The new guidelines say that famers, who opt for diversification, will get a help of Rs 7,000 per acre in two instalments in the eight identified blocks. The insurance of alternate crops would be ensured from the government’s pocket.
Meanwhile, the Congress claimed victory over “U-turn” by the government.
Earlier, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had threatened state-wide agitation over paddy cultivation restrictions, and Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee President Kumari Selja and AICC communication in-charge Randeep Surjewala participated in a protest in Fatehabad on Wednesday.
Selja demanded that the May 9 order of the government should be taken back fully.
“When farmers protest on road, only then this government takes its decisions back,” she said.
Surjewala demanded an unconditional apology from the government over the issue. He said: “Today is a red-letter day for Haryana’s farmers. An arrogant Khattar government has been forced to reverse its draconian order banning paddy cultivation.”