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HindustanTimes Wed,26 Nov 2014

Delay in wheat harvesting may affect poll turnout in rural belt

Jatinder Kohli , Hindustan Times  Jalandhar , April 14, 2014
First Published: 10:38 IST(14/4/2014) | Last Updated: 10:40 IST(14/4/2014)

With the wheat procurement season having officially started on April 1 along the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the delay in harvesting of the crop due to frequent spells of rain and cold wave may affect voting turnout in the rural pockets of Jalandhar parliamentary constituency.

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Even as Baisakhi, usually the time when farmers are either done with harvesting or about to finish it, is round the corner in the northern parts of India, no farmer has reached the grain markets with their harvest in the district so far.

If predictions by the meteorological department are of any indication, weather will remain inconsistent for the next couple of days which could further delay wheat arrival in grain markets, breaking the past trend. While about 340 quintals of wheat had arrived in grain markets of the district till the corresponding period during the wheat procurement season last year, only 25 quintal wheat has reached the new grain market of the city this year as yet.

Wheat was sown over an area of 1.69 lakh hectares in the district this time and the expected arrival of wheat in markets is 8.57 lakh metric tonnes (MT).

The crop needs proper sunshine and hot weather around this time for drying so that it becomes ready for harvesting quickly. Tarsem Singh, a farmer from Gakhlan village, said, “I have sown the HD 2967 wheat variety on five acres. We will harvest the crop in few days since warm weather is needed right now. If weather remains same, it may delay harvesting even for a week.”

Balwinder Singh, another farmer from Nahlan village, said he had sown wheat over seven acres and needed few more days to start harvesting.

“The crop is still greenish which means it has not ripened yet. I have been looking for labourers but they are yet to come back from their states where elections are underway,” he added.

District mandi officer Harinder Singh Randhawa said, “Wheat arrival got delayed due to inconsistent weather this time. Only 25 quintals of wheat has arrived in the grain market which is lower than last time.”

Chief agriculture officer Swatantra Kumar Aeri said there would be a bumper crop in the district due to a prolonged winter. Aeri said rain was measured at 1 mm on Saturday and there will not be any damage to the crop but it would certainly delay the harvesting by over a week or so.

Defence public relations officer Naresh Vig said as per the meteorological department’s report there were chances of rain in the next three or four days due to Western disturbances.

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