It's been a dull harvest festival of Baisakhi this time for farmers across Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other places in the north.
Unseasonal rains have caused serious damage to the wheat crop in these states with around 3 lakh acres of crop estimated at Rs 717 crore affected in Punjab alone.
In Haryana, a government report has revealed that wheat crop spread over 19.5 lakh hectares, nearly 78% of the total area of 25 lakh hectares in the current rabi season, has been damaged in the recent unseasonal rain and hailstorm.
A farmer shifts stacks of harvested wheat that was drenched due to rain in a village near Haryana's Karnal. (HT Photo)
In Uttar Pradesh, more than 55 districts have been hit by untimely rains. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has declared a calamity and has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Rs 1,000 crores to immediately provide relief to farmers.
The situation is so bad that in Punjab farmers are yet to make the traditional offering of wheat to local gurudwaras.
Sacks of wheat lie out in the open in a Ludhiana village. (HT Photo)
Faced with debts running into lakhs of rupees, farmers have committed suicide in many villages of Punjab and UP.
This year Baisakhi has been more about prayer than about pagentry.
Damaged crops as can be seen in a Mohali village. (Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)
In Madhya Pradesh's Khargone, a farmer tries to drain rainwater from drenched sacks of wheat. (HT Photo)