| Jalandhar |
Published: February 15, 2018 3:58 am
For two decades or more, successive governments have tried weaning away farmers in Punjab from growing paddy. Their efforts have borne little fruit, as the area under this water-guzzling crop has only gone up from 11.83 lakh hectares (lh) in 1980-81 to 20.15 lh in 1990-91, 26.12 lh in 2000-01 and 30.46 lh in 2016-17.
The primary culprit here has been free power supply to farmers. It has led to groundwater overdraft and incentivising cultivation of paddy over maize, cotton, groundnut and other less water-intensive crops (which also don’t benefit from minimum support price-based state procurement). The…