Snow, rains wash off Himachal farmers’ hopes

April 9th, 2009 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla, April 9 (IANS) Moderate to heavy snowfall and rain at many places in Himachal Pradesh Thursday triggered fresh worries for the farmers in the state.
“Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district had 25 centimetres snow during the past 24 hours, while the Rohtang Pass in Kullu district is still receiving snow,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office in Shimla, told IANS.

“The entire tribal belt in Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba district witnessed moderate to heavy snowfall during the past 24 hours,” he said.

Mid hills in the state received moderate to heavy rain, causing worries for the wheat growers.

The maximum rain was recorded in popular tourist spot Kasauli (39 mm) followed by Dharamsala (36 mm), Jogindernagar (28 mm), Mandi (21 mm), Shimla (20 mm) and Solan (15 mm).

Sanjay Kumar, a scientist with the National Wheat Research Centre here, said: “Earlier, a long dry spell affected the wheat crop in the lower hills. Now, heavy rain accompanied with hailstorm and high velocity winds is flattening the ripe wheat crop.”

He said as per preliminary estimates, the yield of the wheat this year is expected to fall 20-30 percent due to hostile weather at the time of harvesting.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in Himachal Pradesh, providing direct employment to 69 percent of the total workers in the state.

About 81 percent of the total cultivated area in the state is rainfed. Rice, wheat and maize are the important cereal crops.

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