This Faridkot winter was wetter than the last, by nearly double the amount of rainfall.
The district that had its worst drought in 10 years last summer has seen a turnaround in colder months of the calendar. With the third showers of this winter on Saturady night being 10mm, Faridkot has received about 32mm rainfall this season, as opposed to only 18mm it had received by the same day (February 23) last year.
Good for crop
“The rainfall is still very good for almost every crop, as it will help control the temperature when wheat, a major crop of the region, is yet to grow ears. The crop's body weight is not much, so there's no risk of it falling it flat," said Kaur Singh Dhillon, chief agriculture officer (CAO) of Faridkot. "The district has not seen fast winds or any hailstorm that might damage the crop. Sometimes, late rainfall in March, accompanied by fast winds and hailstorm, ruins the crop," he added.
Good for water level
With the good winter rainfall, experts also expect a few centimtres of rise in the subsoil water level. In Faridkot, the level had declined an average of 93 centimetres post monsoon last year because of dry conditions in the wet season," said Joginder Singh, engineer in the groundwater cell of Faridkot. Rainfall is a major source of recharging groundwater.
Bad for the poor
Rainfall, however, also makes life difficult for the poor. "Rain spoil days of hard work and nobody hires people to do labour on farms. Works come to a halt, and because of the shortage of sand and gravel, construction projects are also slow this year, because of which we cannot find any employment. This winter, the demand for labour was less also because of extreme cold and fog," said Mukhtiar Singh, a daily-wage earner from Sirsari village.
Games washed out
The showers on Ferbruary 22 and 23 washed out more than a dozen sports tournaments in Faridkot and adjoining districts. At a tournament in Maccaki Kalan, final matches had to be postponed. The organising club suffered a loss of more than Rs. 20,000 loss because it paid for tents, sound system and posters in vain. "The tournament will resume on March 19 and 20, weather permitting," said Gurwinder Singh Chahal of the Sarb Sanjha Dashmesh Youth Club of Jhakkarwala village .
Almost a dozen kabaddi tournaments were to be held at Jhakkarwala on these two days. The villagers had spent three days on raising the playground level by unloading trailer-loads of soil. The tractor fuel alone cost about Rs. 13,000. In the end, the rain dampened all enthusiasm. The new dates will clash will other tournaments.