The Coronavirus forced lockdown has induced a shortage of labour following which Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday has announced an advancement in the paddy nursery sowing and transplantation dates by 10 days. The CM's action comes after farmers complained about meeting cultivation requirements as most labours have returned to their respective states after the Centre's permit. As per the Punjab Agricultural University's recommendation, sowing of paddy will now commence on May 10 and June 10 instead of the earlier dates fixed by the Agricultural Department.
The Chief Minister has termed the advancement as a move in the interest of the farmers and has directed Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna to harness the services of the extension staff of the Agriculture Department to provide all technical support to the farmers. He also said that the farmers should be helped in making effective use of paddy transplanters and DSR machinery, adding that advanced technology would be instrumental in filling the gap created by a shortage of migrant labour.
Furthermore, to facilitate the farmers in ensuring timely transplantation of paddy, Amarinder Singh directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to make necessary arrangements for facilitating uninterrupted power supply to the agriculture sector during this period.
The Punjab government on Friday said it is mulling changes in both the labour laws and excise policy to kick-start the economic activities in the state by making it an attractive destination for migrant workers, besides boosting its revenue. The twin issues of changes in the state's labour laws and excise policy came up for discussion during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the government said in a statement.
The two issues cropped up in the Cabinet meeting a day after the government's green signal to open liquor vends in the state got a poor response from liquor contractors. Underlining the need for the industry to retain labour and prevent the migrant workers from leaving Punjab, Chief Minister Singh on Friday directed the state's industry minister to take all possible welfare measures to ensure that workers' interests are well taken care of, the government statement said.
(With PTI Inputs)