The Punjab government has told the Centre that the PUSA-44 variety of paddy should not to be sown in the upcoming kharif season in the state, terming it an environmental hazard as it matures late and it produces more stubble.

In an action plan sent to the Union ministry for environment on the steps initiated by the state to curb stubble burning and better in-situ management of paddy residue, the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the state agriculture department have proposed that the sowing of the paddy variety which comprises 15-16% of total cultivated area should be stopped immediately.

Of a total paddy area of 77 lakh acres under paddy this kharif season, the premium basmati is cultivated over 12.5 lakh acres and the PUSA-44 over 12 lakh acres. Besides, the PR-121 is sown over 17 lakh acres and PR-126 over 12-13 lakh acre land.

Five to six other varieties of paddy are also sown in the state.

The PUSA-44, developed by Delhi-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), commonly referred to as PUSA Institute, is one of the oldest varieties grown in the state.

Source: 26 May, 2021, Hindustan Times