Classification of area by land use in the Amitsar District during 1950-51 to 1967-68

(Thousand hectares)

Particulars

1950-51

1955-56

1960-61

1961-62

1962-63

1963-64

1964-65

1965-66

1966-67

1967-68

1. Total area, according to village papers

508

508

508

508

508

509

509

509

509

509

2. Forests

-

(a)

(a)

(a)

(a)

(a)

7

7

7

7

3. Land not available for cultivation

70

66

73

73

73

73

67

67

67

68

4. Other uncultivated land excluding fallow land

56

62

57

57

57

58

57

57

57

57

5. Fallow land

42

32

54

29

28

33

31

41

34

30

6. Net area sown

340

348

324

349

350

345

347

337

344

347

7. Area sown more than once

114

145

121

137

183

159

183

156

200

195

8. Total cropped area (6+7)

454

493

445

486

533

504

530

493

544

542

(Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 1968, pp 40-47)


(a) Means below 500 hectares

Note:- Minor difference are due to the rounding of figures.

            Area not available for cultivation comprises barren and uncultivable lands and lands put to non-agricultural uses such as land under building, roads and canals. The total area of such lands in the district was 68 thousand hectares in 1967-68.

            Other categories of uncultivated land, excluding the fallow land, comprise cultivable wastes, grazing lands and lands under tree groves, not included under the sown area. Such land covered about 57 thousand hectares in 1967-68.

 

            In revenue terminology, land is termed ‘cultivated’ if it has been sown even once during the previous four harvests. The cultivated area, thus, comprises (i) the fallow land, and (ii) the sown area. Such land in the district during 1967-68 measured about 377 thousand hectares.

 

            The holdings in the district being vary small, the farmers are eager to bring every inch of land under cultivation. This is all the more so, because under the East Punjab Utilization of Lands Act, 1949, the cultivation by someone else. No appreciable cultivable waste is, therefore, available with individual farmers. If there is any, that is mostly due to the development of kallar.

 

            Kallar lands are being reclaimed by the farmers by adopting the following methods:

 

(1)              The cultivation of paddy for 4-5 years on kallar infested lands by applying additional irrigation from tube-wells or by having additional canal outlets from the Irrigation Department. Kallar salts are leached down by flooding the fields put under paddy.

 

(2)              The application of gypsum. Gypsum is supplied by the Agriculture Department on 50 per cent subsidy to reclaim kallar lands.

 

Lightly infested kallar lands are also being improved by applying farmyard manure judiciously. In the fields where there is some kallar, green-manuring is also being practiced. The kallar patches are being removed by scraping the land and by adding soil or silt from kallar free fields. The kallar lands are also being improved by growing kikar (Acacia arabica) trees.

 

            (ii)        Cultivable Waste:- Most of the cultivable waste is the village common land in the possession of the village panchayats. Some of the panchayats have started their direct cultivation; but still large areas remain uncultivated and, as such, are being utilized by the villagers for grazing cattle.

 

The panchayats are gradually making efforts to bring the cultivable waste under cultivation and for this purpose, they are being advanced loans to enable them to purchase tractors and implements and sink wells and tube-wells for irrigation.

 

            Since the available irrigation facilities are adequate, only a small area is left fallow.

 

            (iii)       Reclamation of Waterlogged Areas, Swamps, etc.:- Canal irrigation has not been an unmixed blessing. It has caused waterlogging in several areas, especially in both sides of the canals. Through seepage, the water penetrates into the deeper subsoil. Consequently, the underground water-table rises, and when it reaches the root zone, it seriously affects the growth of plants. Waterlogging also leads to salt infestation. These factors have rendered large areas unfit for cultivation and have depressed the yields. The problem of waterlogging has become very acute in the Amitsar District. It is apprehended that unless suitable measures are taken in time to stop this menace, vast areas may become unfit for cultivation. In certain areas, drains are being dug to lower the subsoil water-table, but so far the progress in this respect has not been encouraging, and effective measures to root out this problem are imperative.

 

            Soil erosion is not an acute problem in this district. It, however, takes place in parts of the Ajnata Tahsil owing to the dhusi bund, or it is present to a very negligible extent in the sandy areas of the Tarn Taran Tahsil.

 

            No problem of swamps exists in this district.

 

            The extent of the problem of thur and sem in the district during the rabi season of 1968, as compared with that during the corresponding harvest season in the preceding year, i.e., rabi 1967, is shown below:

 


Description of areas

Thur

(hectares)

Sem

(hectares)

Number of estates affected

Rabi

Rabi

Rabi

Rabi

Rabi

Rabi

1967

1968

1967

1968

1967

1968

Cultivated

1939

2013

173

159

 

659

 

   673

Fallow (broken)

1745

1745

213

220

Uncultivated (never broken)

16539

16935

158

199

Total

20223

20693

544

578

 

 

(Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 1967 and 1968)

 

Land Reclamation, Irrigation and Power Research Institute, Punjab, Amritsar:- Originally established in 1924, the institute was reorganized after the partition of 1947 at Amritsar. It is headed by a Director who is assisted by an Executive Engineer, 10 Research Officers, 29 Assistant Research Officers, 3 Subdivisional Officers, 198 Class III ministerial/ technical and 148 Class IV staff.

 

            The institute mainly deals with research and design problems pertaining to irrigation and power projects. Extensive soil, water and ground-water surveys from its regular feature for the exploitation of these resources to the benefit of the State. For devising suitable anti-waterlogging measures, a number of pilot schemes have been taken up by the institute at Amritsar and other places in the State.

 

(b) Irrigation

            The district is classed as plain and the greater part of it is secure against very serious failure of either the summer or winter rains, but the certainty of each harvest is still further secured by ample irrigation, both from wells and canals. This irrigation also admits of superior staples, such as sugarcane, cotton, maize and rice, being grown, and enables a far larger area to be put under wheat than would be the case if the cultivator had to depend on rain alone.

 

            Variations in the timings of rainfall, however, affect the sowing as well as the harvesting of crops, particularly those of the ‘kharif’ season. A fair amount of rainfall towards the end of June or in the beginning of July leads to an all-round sowing activity, whereas a failure of rain in the second half of July and also in August, followed by that in September, leads to the scorching of the crops by the sun.  The table below shoes the entire relation between the variations in rainfall and the failure of crops in the districts:

 

RAINFALL IN THE AMRITSAR DISTRICT

Actual for 10 years 1958-59 to 1967-68

Year

Annual Rainfall

Rainfall during months of

Area under crops failed (hectares)

July

August

September

October

1958-59

67.34

13.09

5.04

28.08

2.07

46550

1959-60

52.09

23.06

14.02

10.00

1.06

27009

1960-61

68.7

16.00

9.00

2.00

--

12576

1961-62

88.7

24.03

30.02

17.01

0.02

62409

1962-63

72.1

14.04

12.02

35.00

--

110639

1963-64

33.0

13.00

5.01

6.07

--

11994

1964-65

63.7

30.06

19.01

5.00

--

81361

1965-66

32.11

21.02

5.02

1.01

1.00

33292

1966-67

63.6

14.07

12.00

20.00

1.01

96287

1967-68

66.11

10.01

22.03

7.00

3.01

6959

(Source: Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar)

 

            The peculiar climatic conditions, thus, necessitate irrigation by artificial means for the sowing, growing and proper maturing of crops and for increasing their yields.

 

            Irrigation Facilities:- For an increased artificial supply of water for irrigation, resource must be had to river-water through canals – known as major irrigation – and subsoil water through wells (percolation), pumping-sets and tube-wells – known as minor irrigation. In 1967-68, the area irrigated by canals and wells worked out to be 59 and 31 per cent respectively of the net area sown in the district. Canals, therefore, form the major source of irrigation. Next to these are wells, tube-wells and pumping-sets.

 

            The following table shows the area irrigated through different sources during the years 1950-51, 1955-56 and 1960-61 to 1967-68:


 

Net area under irrigation in the Amritsar District

 

Source

1950-51

1955-56

1960-61

1961-62

1962-63

1963-64

1964-65

1965-66

1966-67

1967-68

Government Canals

1678

1865

1982

1911

1864

1892

1914

1976

2040

2046

Wells

1139

1176

926

952

1052

1115

1065

1092

1051

1063

Other Sources

11

11

20

20

17

30

22

18

17

17

Total

2828

3052

2928

2883

2933

3037

3001

3086

3108

3126

(Statistical Abstract of District Amritsa, 1967, pp 102-103;

District Statistical Officer, Amritsar)

 


Canals

 

Four branches of the Upper Bari Doab Canal run through the district; the Sabraon Branch, the Main Branch Lower, and the Lahore Branch. The original project of the Upper Bari Doab Canal was drawn up in 1850, shortly after the annexation of the Punjab by the British. Some modifications of the original design were found to be becessary, and a revised estimate was submitted in 1856. The canal was formally opened in 1859, and irrigation commenced in the following year. The headworks are situated on the River Ravi near Madhopur in the Gurdaspur District. The canal runs in one channel for 48 km, after which it splits up into two principal channels called the Main Branch Upper and the Kasur Branch Upper. The latter, about 11 km farther on, bifurcates into the Sobraon Branch and the Kasur Branch Lower, both of which pass through the Amritsar District. From the former, irrigation is supplied to the country between the high bank of the Beas and the Patti drainage and from the latter to the tract lying between the Kasur and Patti drainages. At Aliwal, in the Batala Tahsil of the Gurdaspur District, the Lahore Branch takes off from the Main Branch Upper. Below this point, the main branch is known as the Main Branch Lower and serve the country between the Kasur and the Hudiara drainages. The Lahore Branch traverses the southern border of the Ajnala Tahsil and irrigates the tract between the Hudiara and Sakki Nalas. The total length of the Upper Bari Doab Canal branches, in the Amitsar district is 258.37 km.

 

All these four channels of the Upper Bari Doab Canal are perennial but, during the rabi season, these are run in rotation if the supply of water in the river is short.

 

It is primarily through the Upper Bari Doab Canal that about 90 per cent of the cultivated land in the district receives irrigation. Canal irrigation is particularly in particularly indispensable in the Tarn Taran and Patti tahsils where underground water is usually brackish and unfit for well or tube-well irrigation.

 

Wells (including Tube-wells and Pumping-sets)

 

Next in importance to canals are wells as a source of irrigation in the district. For a long time past, the Persian wheel and dhinkli have been used to lift subsoil water. Tube-wells and pumping-sets have been introduced during the post-independence period. The number if wells (percolation), tube-wells and pumping-sets installed during the Third Five-Year Plan (1961-66), 1966-67 and 1967-68 are given in the following table:

 

Wells, tube-wells and pumping-sets installed in the Amritsar District,

1961-62 to 1967-68

 

 

Third Five-Year Plan (1961-66)

1966-67

1967-68

Wells (percolation)

728

93

65

Tubewells

1296

582

657

Pumping sets

548

276

412

Loans advanced for the above minor irrigation works (in Rs.)

3122960

1361500

2899500

(Source: District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar)

 

            Water at will is considered to be the most important means for increasing agricultural production. During the period from 1961-62 to 1967-68, a total amount of Rs.7383960 was advanced as minor irrigation loans to the farmers in the district as per details given below:

 

Year

Wells

Tube-wells (Rs.)

Pumping-sets (Rs.)

Total

1961-62

40000

230000

125000

395000

1962-63

72000

257400

106500

435900

1963-64

230000

200000

5000

435000

1964-65

45560

355000

227500

628060

1965-66

74000

645000

510000

1229000

1966-67

188000

845700

327800

1361500

1967-68

124000

1783000

992500

2899500

Total

 

 

 

7383960

(Source: District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar)

 

(c)       Agriculture, including Horticulture

 

(i)        Set-up and Activities of the Agriculture Department:- The Department is represented in the district by the District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar, who is under the administrative control of the Deputy Director of Agriculture, Agricultural Circle, Jullundur. The District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar, is assisted by 1 Agricultural Information Officer, 1 Seed Development Officer, 22 Agricultural Inspectors, 64 Agricultural Sub-Inspectors, etc. besides ministerial and Class IV staff. Moreover, 1 Horticultural Inspector, 1 Grape Inspector, 1 Agriculture Inspector (Implements), 2 Statistical Inspectors and 1 Vegetable Inspector are posted at Amritsar under the District Agricultural Officer. Five Assistant Extension Specialists of the Punjab Agricultural University belonging to different subjects, namely agronomy, horticulture, farm management, plant protection and soil science, also assist the District Agricultural Officer in the Farm Advisory Service Scheme.

 

            To look after plant protection, an Assistant Plant-Protection Officer is posted at Amritsar under the direct control of the Deputy Director (Locust Control and Plant Protection), Chandigarh. Three Plant Protection Inspectors are posted under him at Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Patti.

 

            An Assistant Soil Conservation Officer is posted at Amritsar. His work is supervised by the Chief Conservator of Soils, Punjab, Chandigarh. He has Agricultural Inspectors posted all over the district to attend to soil conservation.

 

            A Superintendent, Hoticulture, is posted at Atari under the direct control of the Deputy Director (Horticulture), Chandigarh. He looks after the Atari Gardens and other horticultural research work.

 

            The Agriculture Department guides the farmers in the lay-out of gardens, in th extension of new orchards, in solving problems relating to the maintenance and establishment of gardens and nurseries, in controlling various pests and diseases affecting agricultural crops and gardens, in the management and procurement of fertilizers and good seeds, and in laying out demonstration plots to bring home to the cultivators the superiority of varieties recommended for cultivation in the district. The Agricultural Inspectors educate the farmers in their areas on matters relating to improved seeds, fertilizers, improved agricultural implements and recommend agricultural practices by lying out demonstration plots, organizing rural fairs, distributing literature, etc. The Agricultural Department also helps the fruit-growers in getting enhanced supply of canal water for establishing and developing new orchards.

 

            The Government takes keen interest in increasing agricultural production by popularizing improved agricultural practices and implements. Loans are advanced for repairing old wells and sinking new ones and installing tube-wells and pumping-sets under the development of irrigation programmes. Besides, taccavi loans are advanced for the development of horticulture at the rate of Rs.300 per acre of plantation. The loans for the reclamation of land are also given. Loans for grape cultivation at the rate of Rs.3000 per acre are advanced to the cultivators.

 

            The State assistance to agriculture, which comprises taccavi loans, loans for reclamation subsidies, relief, etc. advanced in the district, during the period 1961-62 to 1967-68, is shown in the following statement:


Loans/ subsidies advanced to agriculturists in the Amritsar District, 1961-62 to 1967-68

Loans/ Subsidies

1961-62

1962-63

1963-64

1964-65

1965-66

1966-67

1967-68

Loans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.                 Sinking of percolation wells

49000

71500

155915

45560

74000

188000

124000

2.                 Sinking of tube-wells

230000

257400

416000

625000

645000

845700

1783000

3.                 Installation of pumping-sets

125000

109000

81500

227500

510000

327800

992500

4.                 Taccavi loan for fertilizers

434553

1398663

2925241

4863740

4177352

1177163

__

 

5.                 Taccavi loan for the purchase of tractors

80000

50000

80000

80000

80000

----

----

6.                 Taccavi loan for the development of horticulture

100000

17700

50000

27000

39000

----

----

7.                 Taccavi loan for the purchase of sugarcane seed

__

__

__

__

__

__

__

8.                 Taccavi loan under the Land Improvement Loans Act XIX of 1883 (Ordinary)

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

9.                 Taccavi loan under Agriculturists Loans Act XII of 1884 (Ordinary)

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

Subsidies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.                 Subsidy for freen-manuring at the rate of Rs.2.50 per acre

---

1087

294

2923

3902

5360

__

2.                 Subsidy for the purchase of fruit plants (for grape cultivation)

__

__

12500

10975

__

__

__

--- denotes ‘Not Available’                             (Source: District Agricultural Officer, Amritsar)

__ denotes ‘Nil’


(ii) Soils, climate and Crops:-  The climate and soils have direct bearing on the cropping pattern of an area. The crops suitable for a particular type of soil and climate are sown there. Recently, there has been a new trend to sow high-yielding crops and ignore the less-paying ones. As a result of increased irrigation facilities, the cultivators are putting a smaller area under less-paying crops and a larger area under more-paying ones, like Mexican wheat (dwarf varieties), paddy IR-8 and hybrid maize. Thus, the area under the gram crop has decreased, whereas that under wheat has increased.

 

Soils

 

            The natural distinctions of soil, recognized by the people, are given below. These distinctions are not, however, of the same importance in this district, as they are in other, owing to the prevalence of canal irrigation, and the zamindars apply them only to barani lands.

 

Rohi:               land lying in or near a depression, which, by reasons of surface water collecting, ahs become hard and clayey.

 

            Maira:              a firm level loam, often reddish and easily worked.

 

Tibba:              soil mixed with sand, which will not form into clods, found in undulating ground and liable to be blown into ridges.

 

Doshahi:          a somewhat indefinite term, used to describe a soil which is none of the other three, usually a mixture of clay and sand.

 

            The rohi soil gives the heaviest yield, but requires a steady supply of moisture. In a very wet year, it is liable to become waterlogged, and the crops frown in it suffer accordingly. In a very dry year or when the supply of artificial irrigation fails, crops grown on it succeed no better. Regular and ample, but not excessive or deficient, moisture or irrigation is required. It is the soil most valued by the people, and is the best for rice and other valuable irrigated crops. Maira is the next in value, being a clean soil, easily worked and weeded, and is that most commonly met with in Amritsar. The excess or failure of moisture causes less harm to crops grown in it than to these raised in rohi soils, and it is especially suited to maize and wheat. Tibba is looked on as an inferior soil, and on this the yield is never heavy. It is not suitable for irrigation, as water travels slowly on it. But it succeeds with less rainfall than either rohi or maira and the more sandy it is, the less it suffers from drought. Evaporation, so long as the sand is fine and not coarse, takes place slowly and it, is therefore, classed as a cool or thanda soil. But excessive rainfall is injurious, as it is apt to wash away the soil from about the roots, whereas high winds on exposed tracts may smother the plants in blown sand. Moth and gram suit it best and melons succeed well enough in it. Doshahi is not easy to be recognized. The people will describe their own rohi as doshahi when they wish for any reason to depreciate it or will apply the term to their neighbour’s sandy soil, when they have an object in making it out better than it really is. Ghasra is a term applied to a mixture of clay and sand in the Ajanta Bet, and rokkar to a poor shallow soil, with grey river sand at a short distance below the surface, also most frequently met with near the rivers. Such a soil seeds a long rest, and ample and timely rain, an is apt to be infested with rats. Khoba is used to describe a thicl layer of recent alluvial mud, loose in texture, left by the receding of river floods, and has not has time to settle and harden and goira means the artificially manured belt of land round the village site, an the soil found on it.

 

Major and Subsidiary Crops

 

            The two main harvests in a year in the district are kharif and rabi, locally called sawni and hari. The former is the summer-season harvest and the latter the winter-season harvest. Besides, there is another harvest which is assessed along with kharif and sometimes with rabi. The harvest assessed with rabi is called in the village papers as zaid-rabi and that with kharif as said-kharif. It includes mostly vegetables and fodder crops.

 

            The principal kharif crops are paddy, cotton, maize and sugarcane, whereas minor ones or subsidiary crops are kahrif vegetables, such as ladyfinger, cauliflower, tomto, brinjal, cucurbits, kharif pulses and fruits. The proncipal rabi oilseeds (sarson, toramira, alsi and toria), and winter vegetables such as peas, turnip, radish, carrots, lobia, etc.

 

            The main commercial crops of the district are sugarcane, cotton, vegetables and celery. The area under sugarcane and paddy has increased considerably owing to the rise in the subsoil water and because of heavy rains.

 

            Wheat:- Among the rabi crops, wheat is the pricipal staple of this region. It is sown in October or November and is ready for harvesting by the middle of April.

 

            A Wheat-Package Programme was started in 1966, under one Aricultural Inspector continues to be posted in each of the 8 Wheat-Package Blocks, viz. Tarn Taran, Khadur Sahib, Rayya, Chohla, Naushera Pannuan, Patti, Valtoha and Bhikhiwind.

 

            Gram:- Gram (Chana) is grown alone as well as mixed with wheat (the mixture being known as berara). Its cultivation does not requires fine tilth, but like most of the rabi crops needs to be sown with good with initial soil moisture to germinate well. It is hardy plant in most respects, but is liable to damage in poor soils of rains fail or are scanty during early spring (February-March) when high winds laden with dust occur at the time of flowering in March, or when there is a long spell of damp, cloudy and thundery weather. Sown in October, the crop is harvested from the end of March to the middle of April.

 

            Rice:- Rice is called jhona, whatever the variety grown. The old low-yielding rice varieties are being replaced by improved high yielding ones, e.g. IR 8, Jaya, Palman 579. The best rice crop is obtained from seedling transplanted from nurseries (paniri), but the crop may also be sown broadcast. Lawen and bhijen are the terms employed for the two processes. The former generally goves a higher yield. The crop is harvested in October.

 

            The Rice-Package Programme was started in 1965, under which 10 Agricultural Inspectors and a number of Agricultural Sub-Inspectors were posted in 10 Rice Package Blocks, viz. Verka, Jandiala Guru, Tarsikka, Rayya, Majitha, Ajnala, Chogawan, Tarn Taran Naushehara Pannuan and Gandiwind.

 

            Maize:- It is sown in the second week of July and is reaped in October and November. The straw is chopped and fed to cattle, but it is not a good fodder.

 

            Cotton:- Cotton is grown both on well-irrigated and canal-irrigated lands, but it succeeds better on the former. It is a very important kharif crop. It is swon in April-May. Its picking begins in September and lasts through December. Both types of cotton, viz. American and desi are grown, though the area under the former has decreased.

 

            A Cotton-Package Programme was taken up in 1967 in cooton-Package Blocks, viz. Patti, Valtoha, Bhikhiwind, Khadur Sahib, Chohla, Tarn Taran, Naushehra Pannuan and Rayya.

 

            Sugarcane:- It is sown from mid February to mid March and harvesting is carried on from November to March.

 

            Oilseeds:- An Oilseed Extension Programme was started in 1967 in the Rayya, Ajnala and Tarsikka Blocks, in each of which an Agricultural Inspector was posted.

 

            The oilseed crops are generally damaged by aphids, commonly known as teld. With advances in agriculture, the cropping pattern in the district has changed. The cultivators have taken to sowing toria a bit earlier and after harvesting it, they sow the Mexican wheat.

 

            Detailed particulars regarding the area under different crops, their total production and yield per hactare in the district during 1950-51 (year before the introduction of the First Five-Year Plan), 1955-56 (the last year of the First Five Year Plan), 1960-61 (the last year of the Second Five Year Plan), 1965-66 (the last year of the Third Five Year Plan), and 1967-68 are given in appendices I, II, and III at the end of this chapter at pages 181-183.

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