The paddy-sowing season, which formally started on June 15, is witnessing an unprecedented disaster owing to labour scarcity in Haryana, triggered by the exodus of migrant labourers who went again to their native states throughout the Covid-induced lockdown. Farmers need to depend on native labourers, who’re demanding greater wages than the migrants.
Joginder Singh, a farmer from Baldi village in Karnal district, ready his 30-acre land for paddy. When he misplaced all hope of the arrival of migrant labourers, he needed to rent native labour at greater wages. He had spent Rs 2,300 per acre final 12 months, however he has to pay Rs 3,700/acre this time. “No doubt, the migrant labourers have expertise in paddy transplantation, but I had no option but to hire the local labourers as my fields were ready and uncertainty prevailed over the arrival of migrants,” says Joginder, including that he’ll get paddy transplanted on one other 25 acres after the arrival of monsoon.
Rakesh Bans, a farmer from Shahabad in Kurukshetra district, has the identical story to inform. He says the lockdown has adversely affected the farming group. “Earlier, during the wheat harvesting season, we faced shortage of labour. The situation is the same during the paddy transplantation season. We are dependent on migrant labourers, but very few of them have reached here this season, forcing us to rely on local labourers who are demanding higher wages,” he provides.
Rajiv Sharma, a farmer from Naraingarh in Ambala district, says the native labourers have hiked their wages to Rs 5,000 from Rs 2,700 final season. He says the native labour is much less environment friendly compared to migrant labourers, however they haven’t any selection however to make use of them.
A number of farmers despatched buses to carry labourers from Bihar. Some of the farmers have deposited cash into the accounts of the migrant labourers to make sure their speedy arrival. “We sent a bus for Rs 60,000 to Sitamarhi to bring around 30 labourers for the transplantation of our paddy. We have to bear these expenses as these labourers have been doing transplanting for the past 15 years in our fields,” stated Dalip Singh, a farmer from Pabana Hasanpur in Karnal district.
“I have deposited Rs 25,000 into the account of the labour contractor, who would bring the labour from Bihar. He has promised to reach here before monsoon. After the quarantine period, they will start transplanting paddy in my fields,” stated Suresh Kumar, a farmer of Taraori, a rice bowl of the nation.
The exodus of migrant labourers and their reluctance to return has pressured the farmers to undertake the direct seeding of rice (DSR) approach. As per officers of the Agriculture Department, the world beneath DSR has elevated threefold in a 12 months. “Paddy is cultivated on around 14 lakh hectares in the state, of which around 15,000 hectares have been covered under the DSR this time owing to the shortage of labour. During the previous paddy season, it was around 5,000 hectares. The area under basmati may decrease by 10 per cent due to the labour crunch,” says Aditya Dabas, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Karnal. Some farmers have purchased DSR machines to beat the labour scarcity, he provides.