Sunday's scattered rainfall over parts of Punjab and heavy showers around Chandigarh brought some relief to farmers who are finished with paddy transplantation.
As weatherman calls it revival of monsoon, agricultural experts also welcomed the brief spell, saying it will be good for the paddy crop from the irrigation point of view. More heavy to normal rainfall is predicted in the state in the next 48 hours. "After receding for about a week, monsoon has got active again. So far, the predictions are for normal rainfall," said Chandigarh meteorological department director Surinder Paul, adding: "It is going to be a good monsoon in July and we hope it sustains till September."
It was drought-like condition during the previous monsoon, and the farmers had to face a tough time saving their paddy crop by bearing additional input cost on diesel and electricity to draw more subsoil water to fulfill the requirement. The Punjab government sought a compensation of `2,330 crore from the Centre for additional input cost, though the state was reimbursed for `78 crore.
"The ongoing spell of rain is very beneficial for the paddy crop. It will add nitrogen to the soil," said Punjab state farmers commission consultant PS Rangi. Also the pressure on the groundwater and electricity resources is eased substantially. The Kandi (sub-mountainous) belt, which is mostly rain-fed, received good rainfall over the past two days. The south-west Punjab and the Majha area, Amritsar particularly, remained dry. As per the weather predictions, rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday is expected to cover this area.
"The more it rains in the first two months of paddy crop, the better it is. Farmers are relieved with the beginning of monsoon, which seems to have made a good start," said state agriculture minister Tota Singh. Against last season's coarse variety paddy sown over 20 lakh hectares, the area this season is expected to increase to 22 lakh hectares. The area under basmati is expected to fall from 8 lakh hectares to 6 lakh hectares, even though the ongoing spell of rainfall is good for this variety.
Fatehgarh Sahib 11mm