Rains in Punjab Haryana raise fears of damage to wheat crop

April 5th, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, April 5 (IANS) Most parts of Punjab and Haryana experienced widespread rainfall Saturday raising concerns among the farming community and agriculture experts about the threat to the ripe wheat crop. Even though there were no reports of major damage to the standing wheat crop from both states due to the light to moderate rainfall in the last 48 hours, farmers are hoping that the rains stop and the situation does not aggravate.

Atmospheric disturbances caused by three weather systems over Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan and regions of Pakistan coming together have caused widespread rains over the plains of north India.

Met officials said rainfall occurred over Chandigarh, Ambala, Hissar, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Narnaul, Panchkula and Kalka (all areas in Haryana) and Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Mukerian, Ropar and Mohali (all in Punjab).

They said the rains could continue during the next 24 hours also.

Luckily for farmers in Punjab and Haryana, the rainfall has not been accompanied by strong winds and squall - both of which can play havoc with the standing wheat crop.

Though harvesting has begun in parts of both states, major harvesting will commence only after Baisakhi festival April 13.

“In fact, in some areas where the wheat crop is still not ready for harvest, this rain will be good. We are only hoping that the rain does not last longer than this otherwise it will damage the crops,” agriculturist Joginder Singh of Siswan village near Chandigarh said.

Agriculture department officials in Punjab and Haryana said they were monitoring the situation closely.

“So far there have been no reports of extensive damage to crops. The rain could delay harvesting but will not damage the crop. We hope that no strong winds accompany the rains otherwise it will play havoc with the crops,” Haryana’s agriculture minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha said.

Punjab’s agriculture director B.S. Sidhu too said that no reports of extensive damage to crops had been received so far.

“Wheat has been sown in over 34.8 lakh hectares of agricultural land this time. I have checked with various areas in Punjab and the crop has not suffered much damage so far,” Sidhu said.

Punjab and Haryana - which contribute nearly half of the country’s buffer stock of foodgrains - are expecting a bumper crop this year but the unseasonal rain has dampened hopes that it could be a record-setting year.

But farmer leader B.S. Rajewal said farmers in some belts had reported portions of their crops being flattened by the rain.

“The rain will mean lesser yield this time. The bumper crop may not be there,” Rajewal said.

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