Can government decide what farmers grow in their fields? -Prabhash K Dutta
Paddy cultivation has been a worry for water conservationists for long worldwide. And, paddy is not the only water-guzzling crop to have come under the scanner.
Beyond the frightening cries of coronavirus outbreak and displaced migrants, a section of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Telangana, to begin with, are debating this: Can government decide which crop they cultivate in their fields?
It began with Punjab. The story began during 1970's as a side-effect of green revolution but in mid-2000's, it assumed critical proportion. Incumbent Captain Amarinder Singh was chief minister of Punjab back then.
Wide-scale cropping of paddy had caused extensive decline of water table in Punjab. Some suggested bringing a law to regulate paddy culture. "A law telling farmers when to sow paddy? Nobody will accept it," Captain had said.
Finally, a law came in Punjab in 2009. It is called the Preservation of Sub-soil Water Act and authorizes the government to notify the dates for paddy transplantation.
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IndiaToday.in, 16 May, 2020, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/beyond-corona-crisis-a-water-war-between-states-and-farmers-over-paddy-1678599-2020-05-16