SRINAGAR: With continuous precipitation over the past week, majority of farmers across the Valley have decided to go against the advisory issued by the Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) department and proceed with paddy plantation in their fields.
The I&FC department had recently issued an advisory for paddy cultivating districts, including Srinagar, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kupwara and Pulwama, to avoid growing the crop considering the lowered rainfall during the winter season in the region.
The department in its circular had asked farmers to replace paddy with crops that require considerably less water. The advisory initially created panic among farmers, but the majority of them have now started the establishment of paddy fields.
The government was compelled to issue the circular after reviewing the water levels in different rivers and streams across the state. Although abundant rainfall in the coming months could help improve the situation, such a relief would be temporary.”We want to save our farmers from losses, as the water discharge in rivers and streams is very low this time due to a dry spell in the Valley from the past eight months, especially in winter,” Chief Engineer I&FC Shahnawaz Ahmed said.
“Improvement can happen with more rainfall, if it happens, but keeping in view the current scenario of the water bodies of the Valley, as water scarcity is persistent, I suggest farmers not ignore the advisory,” he added.
However, with the changing weather, farmers in north and central Kashmir have already started the paddy cultivation process.
“The continuous dry spell in the Valley was a major concern for farmers like me,” said Gul Mohammad, hailing from Ganderbal. “Our livelihood is dependent on farming. We will plant paddy this year also, we have seen drought-like situations earlier too. Since we have time till the crop is ready, we are hopeful that we will receive enough rainfall this year.”
“We will grow paddy despite the advisory,” said Fayaz Malla from Sheeri Baramulla, “Moreover the government should take some sustainable steps to see how to avert trouble if something comes up in future. They need to make some consolidated arrangements so that we don’t suffer. With the heavy rainfall going on in the Valley, I hope we will get enough water to suffice us throughout.”
The Agriculture department has also supported the farmers in cultivating the paddy crop in Kashmir. They are officially taking a stand on this issue as it is clearly advisable for them to grow paddy.
“It’s too early to predict what will happen in the months of June and July. Paddy cultivation is done in two parts: first the nursery for the crop, which uses a small portion of land, and after that comes the transplantation. So I advise all the farmers to go for the cultivation of the nursery for the time being. There is no harm in doing that. We have already educated and set guidelines for the farmers for the establishment of the paddy fields,” said Director Agriculture Dr Aijaz Andrabi.