Punjab can survive dry spell, thanks to unseasonal showers

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2015 11:21 IST

In well-irrigated Punjab, where rain has done more damage than good to crop lately, the forecast of a dry spell is no reason to worry, unless the state runs itself dry of groundwater.

Freak weather, which combined unseasonal showers, strong winds and hailstorms, damaged rabi (sown in winter, harvested in spring) crops across Punjab between February and April. Yield fell by 8 to 10 quintals per hectare, or 20; the state's total contribution to the central food-grain pool declined to 100 lakh tonnes from last rabi season's 125 lakh tonnes; against expectations of better wheat because of an extended cold spell, the grains shrivelled and lost more colour than the standard required for procurement.

But it's now worry that the weather prediction for the approaching kharif or monsoon-crop season is not very encouraging either. The meteorological department foresees scanty rainfall in the entire region, but as Punjab's agriculture is fed by tube-wells and canals mostly and not much dependent on rain, it is likely to survive any drought.

The only worry is that scanty rainfall might jack up the input cost. It being a state where electricity supply to tube-wells is free, insufficient rainfall would lead to drawing of more groundwater with the help of tube-wells, depleting it further, the cost of which is hard to work out at this stage.

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