Days after irrigation and flood control department asked farmers in some areas of Kupwara and Baramulla districts not to plant paddy this year because of deficient rains and impending water scarcity, the department issued the same advisory for Ganderbal farmers on Saturday.
"The department of flood control and irrigation won't be able to provide water for irrigation," reads the advisory.
Executive engineer irrigation and flood control GanderbalAjaz Ahmed told Greater Kashmir most streams and nallahs in the district have dried up, and water level in nallah Sindh has also receded.
Director agriculture Kashmir Syed Altaf too suggested cultivation of paddy in areas that are likely to face acute water shortage. He said the department would suggest alternative measures to farmers to avoid any major crisis if the dry weather persists.
At the same time, vice-chancellor Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (Kashmir) Prof Nazir Ahmed said the varsity will be discussing a contingency plan with other departments concerned so that farmers get some relief.
Director research SKUAST Dr Muhammad Yusuf Zagar said there is no need to panic.
"We have submitted a tentative contingency plan to government in this regard. On 4 April we are holding meeting with all stakeholders to chalk out a permanent plan to tackle the situation," he said.
Paddy is cultivated on about 1.4 lakh hectares of land in the Valley. Rice is staple food in Kashmir.