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Ex-IAS officer comes out with less water guzzling technique for paddy

Former IAS officer Kahan Singh Pannu has introduced ‘Seeding of rice on beds (SRB)’ technique to grow rice in much less water as Punjab is staring at its depleting water table.

“As per experts, the groundwater in Punjab will go up to the depth of 1000 feet in next 15 years. The main cause of depleting water table is the cultivation of water guzzling paddy crop during summer. Incidentally, 1 kg of rice needs about 5,000 litres of water when it is grown by traditional method of puddling, under which artificial ponds of water are created in hot summer months. Thus, I started to study and experiment about other cultivation techniques that save more water,” Pannu told The Tribune.

An alumnus of PAU and former Secretary (Agriculture), Punjab, Pannu has been experimenting with SRB technique for paddy cultivation under which paddy seed is directly sown on raised beds in two rows and water is applied in furrows only. Under this method, water requirement of growing paddy plant is met by way of moisture only instead of standing water.

Pannu has reached out to many farmers across the state and this technique for paddy cultivation is being used in many farms this year, he has claimed. “This is a much better method of paddy cultivation than even the direct seeding of rice method,” he said.

“The seed is sown at a distance with a row-to-row spacing of 10-12 inches. This helps the plant to get full natural air, moisture, light and space to grow as per its full genetic potential. Paddy sown under SRB requires very less water which is only about 30-40 per cent as compared to traditional method,” he said.

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