Rain poses danger to wheat crop ready for harvest in Punjab
The state agriculture directorate, which is keeping a close watch over the situation, claimed that no major damage has been reported from any part of the state so far.Updated: Apr 18, 2019 13:37 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Widespread rain accompanied by high-velocity winds lashed vast swathes of Punjab on Wednesday, posing a danger to the wheat crop which is ready for harvest.
The coming days are crucial for the crop because the weather department has further predicted heavy rain coupled with strong winds.
The state agriculture directorate, which is keeping a close watch over the situation, claimed that no major damage has been reported from any part of the state so far.
“The climatic disturbances over the past two days are cause of worry for us. We are keeping our staff on alert, but no damage to (wheat) crop was reported from anywhere in the state,” said agriculture director Sutantar Kumar Airi.
He said flattening of some patches of crop was reported from Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts. “But in case it rains heavily in the coming days, it will cause a big trouble as the crop is in the ripening stage over a large area in the state.”
He added, “If there is heavy rain coupled with strong winds in the coming days, it will lead to lodging of the crop.”
The agriculture department had earlier predicted a bumper crop of wheat this year with increase in per acre yield.
Meanwhile, the state food and civil supplies department has predicted delay in procurement.
“Only 56,000 tonne wheat was procured till Tuesday while on the corresponding day last year, we had procured 16 lakh tonne of produce,” said food and civil supplies director Anandita Mitra.
She added that the delay in procurement due to rain will aggravate the problem because of high-moisture content in the grains. Keeping in view the weather conditions, she said, the procurement will pick up in May.
The state government has received Rs 23,000 crore as cash credit limit (CCL) to be disbursed to farmers during the current month as the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat. In the event of department’s inability to consume the limit in April, it will have to take sanction again from the Centre in May.
CM orders girdawari to assess crop loss
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a special girdawari for assessment of crop loss resulting from the untimely rain and strong winds in the state.
Expressing concern over the losses, the chief minister ordered urgent steps to ascertain the extent of the damage to crops so that due compensation could be awarded to the affected farmers at the earlier, an official spokesperson said.
In his directive to the departments and officials concerned, Amarinder asked them to “commence without delay” the process of conducting the special girdawari for damage assessment due to the weather disruptions.
The spokesperson said the chief minister has directed that the assessment be undertaken and completed on priority.
Farmers should get 100% relief, says AAP
Expressing concern over the “unprecedented crop loss” suffered by farmers, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demanded 100% compensation to the affected farmers.
Leader of opposition in state assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said the rain on Tuesday night has destroyed a major chunk of wheat crop ready for harvesting.
He said that while rain had its impact across the state, it was more conspicuous in areas like Ropar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Fazilka, Kapurthala and Bhatinda districts where crops were completely destroyed, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees.
Cheema asked the government to get a ‘girdawri’ conducted on a priority basis to assess the losses and release 100% compensation to the affected farmers within a stipulated timeframe.
First Published: Apr 18, 2019 13:37 IST