With western disturbances fast approaching north India, the weather later this week is forecast to be unfavourable for the maturity of the wheat crop.
Both Punjab and Haryana should brace for further damage. “Partly or fully cloudy days with thundery development along with windy conditions are expected on March 27 and 28. Between March 29 and 31, there are chances of heavy showers,” said Chandigarh meteorological department director Surinder Pal Singh, who added that this could last till the first few days of April.
Experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, and Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hisar, said rough weather at this time would do huge damage to the crop and increase the losses of both farmers and the states, as production will fall lower that the level maintained over the past few years. “Like Punjab, Haryana has also lost a huge amount of wheat crop because of bad weather. So far, the overall damage is 25% out of 25 lakh hectares under wheat. With more rainy days and strong winds ahead, this figure will rise,” said HAU vice-chancellor Krishan Singh Khokhar.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered all deputy commissioners last week to assess the damage to crop because of rain. Agriculture minister Tota Singh said the DCs would keep the expected rough-weather days in view in preparing final report.
Asked if the Punjab government had any response from PMO to the CM’s letter seeking `717 crore as compensation, Tota Singh said: “The letter has been well considered. I’m told that that a team of agricultural experts from New Delhi will come to Punjab for a meeting next week.”
About the rain in March, weather experts have said that it is unseasonal. For the past three years, showers have been delaying the harvesting of wheat.