Angry over registration of cases against farmers for flouting the State government’s advisory against transplanting paddy saplings before June 20, farmer outfits in Punjab have threatened to launch an agitation against the authorities.“The government should immediately withdraw the cases registered against the farmers… The farming community is already facing economic distress and in such a scenario filing cases against them would only add to their miseries,” said Harinder Singh, general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal).With an aim to preserve water and check the fast depleting groundwater table in the State, the Punjab government had this year asked farmers to start paddy transplantation after June 20 instead of June 15.“The government needs to understand that delay in transplanting paddy would cost the farmers dear. Delay in sowing means a delay in harvest… Paddy harvest usually takes place in October. At that time moisture starts setting in and if the harvest is delayed, the farmers would face difficulty in selling the crop due to high moisture content,” he said.Cultivation costMembers of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) on Wednesday staged a protest in Bathinda district against the police action against farmers transplanting paddy saplings.“We are demanding immediate withdrawal of cases against the farmers besides uninterrupted supply of at least eight-ten hours of power. Due to insufficient power supply, the farmers are forced to use generators to irrigate their fields which has increased the cost of cultivation,” said Surjit Singh, president of BKU (Krantikari).“If the government wants to implement the decision of delayed paddy sowing then it should relax the condition of 17% moisture content during the sale of crops. The moisture content limit should be increased to at least 24%,” said Mr. Singh, adding that if the government does not heed to their demands, the farmers would be forced to launch an agitation against the government.Opposition attackThe Shiromani Akali Dal has condemned the registration of cases against at least five farmers in Ferozepur for transplanting paddy before the June 20 deadline fixed by the Congress government.Former Minister and SAD leader Bikram Majithia said the government should talk to the farmers, listen to their problems and develop consensus on such issues instead of threatening them with police cases.