To encourage farmers towards mechanized paddy transplantation, Punjab Government on Tuesday said it has come up with a comprehensive plan to provide paddy transplanters with 40-50 percent subsidy, which would ease out the labour problem being faced by the farmers in peak season.
A statement said the Agriculture Department would provide a subsidy of 50 percent to the farmers encompassing various sections including small, marginal, Scheduled Castes and women while 40 percent subsidy would be provided to remaining farmers on these machines.
The Department has sought applications from farmers interested in getting subsidized paddy transplanters till January 20, so that appropriate steps could be ensured for booking machines in view of forthcoming season in the month of June and July. Farmers desirous of procuring these machines could send their applications to the Block Agriculture Development Officer or District Agriculture Officer in their concerned districts.
Secretary Agriculture KS Pannu said Punjab had already taken a lead in mechanized farming of all crops except the sowing of paddy and harvesting of sugarcane, which was still being operated manually.
Punjab was facing acute shortage of labour for the past few years due to constant decline in manpower from other parts of the country, which earlier came to the state during paddy transplantation. Henceforth, the State Government has taken conscientious decision to popularize the concept of mechanized paddy transplantation, under which the farmers were being supplied subsidized paddy transplanters.
Pannu said the Agriculture Department had already uploaded the company wise details of the machines along with its rates so as to enable the interested farmers to procure these machines of their choice on affordable rates.
Secretary Agriculture added that there were two types of tranplanters, one with ‘walk-behind’ which could be operated by one person and one helper to upload trays. This machine covers four to six acres per day while the second self-propelled 6-8 row machine covers 10 to 12 acres per day. These machines also ensure uniform transplantation of paddy as per the recommendations of Punjab Agriculture University, he added.
The maximum subsidy on walk behind 4-6 row rice transplanting machine would be up to Rs. 1.5 lakh in case of 50 percent subsidy and Rs. 1.20 lakh in 40 percent subsidy. Likewise, the subsidy on 4-8 row self-propelled paddy transplanter would be up to Rs. 5 lakh in respect of 50 percent subsidy whereas Rs. 4 lakh in 40 percent subsidy cases. A subsidy up to Rs. 8 lakh would be given on self-propelled rice transplanters above 8 rows in case of 50 percent subsidy component and up to Rs. 6.50 lakh in 40 percent subsidy, Pannu added.
He said the major challenge in mechanized transplantation of rice in Punjab is sowing of paddy nursery for which machine manufacturers have been asked to ensure the hand holding of farmers through trained staff.