Persistent rain: Punjab reports damage to paddy crop on 1.5 lakh hectares

Published on Sep 26, 2022 01:15 AM IST

Government says worst affected areas include Patiala, Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Mansa, Muktsar and Tarn Taran, where early varieties were sown

A farmer shows his damaged paddy crops in a field after heavy rainfall at Kalar Bhani Village in Patiala on Sunday. (ANI)
A farmer shows his damaged paddy crops in a field after heavy rainfall at Kalar Bhani Village in Patiala on Sunday. (ANI)

Owing to widespread rainfall for the past five days, 1.5 lakh hectares of paddy crop have been reported to be damaged in Punjab. According to the state agriculture department’s emergency surveys, some areas have seen total crop damage.

The incessant rainfall has left farmers worried about a fall in yield. “It is miserable for us as the crop was about to be harvested and rainfall has led to lodging of the crop. I am not sure whether the crop will recover. We may have to bear heavy losses this time,” said Dalip Singh, a farmer from village Nandpur Kesho near Patiala.

Similarly, Nek Singh, a farmer of village Khokh near Nabha, who has cultivated 12 acres of paddy, said the rainfall was a cause of worry, and the exact loss could only be known once the fields dry up. He apprehended discolouration and higher moisture content in the grain.

Instructions were issued for surveys by the state’s top brass as the rainfall, which started on Wednesday, continued on Sunday as well. Saturday also witnessed a day-long heavy downpour that further damaged the crop. The downpour continued on Sunday, leaving the farmers and state government worried and counting losses.

“It (rainfall) should stop now, and we need spells of sunlight. In case there was more rain, the overall yield would fall,” predicted a senior officer of the state agriculture department, who was at the department headquarters taking feedback from the field staff.

He added that the worst affected areas were in Patiala, Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Mansa, Muktsar and Tarn Taran districts, where early varieties were sown, and the crop was near harvest when the rains began.

“However, late sown areas are safe as we could expect a recovery with an uninterrupted spell of sunshine,” he further said, adding, it would take a few days to assess the exact loss.

During this Kharif season, paddy was sown over 30.84 lakh hectares (75.5 lakh acres), and due to this five-day rain spell lodging of the crop, runlets into the fields and accumulation of water are being reported from the affected areas.

“I have asked all the deputy commissioners to monitor the scenario that has emerged after the rainfall. In case there are losses, DCs have been told to conduct girdawari and report back,” said chief secretary VK Janjua.

Before the rainfall began on Wednesday, crop harvest had already begun, particularly in the areas where the early crop was sown. Early arrivals were reported in districts Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

As per rainfall measured by the meteorology department, districts Ludhiana and Mohali received the maximum rainfall of 113 mm during the past 24 hours (between 8:30 am on September 24 to 8:30 am on September 25), followed by Mansa (102 mm); Fatehgarh Sahib (100 mm); Nawanshahr (95.6 mm); Patiala (80 mm); Sangrur (74.8 mm); Jalandhar (74.4 mm); Gurdaspur (67.2 mm) and Kapurthala (66.8 mm).

According to Manmohan Singh, meteorology department director, the rainfall spell was expected to end by tonight, barring isolated spells at some places.

Bharatiya kisan union (Dakounda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said the damage to the crop was widespread, and the government will have to come in support of the paddy growers. He added that the 1509 variety was in the process of harvesting, so the growers suffered maximum losses.

Delay in arrivals

The state’s food and civil supplies department is expecting delays in paddy arrivals by a week to ten days as the harvest combines would not be able to enter the fields until it dries up. “The initial movement of the freshly harvested crop to the mandis might be slow, but we are ready with all the arrangements. We have procured gunny bags as per our requirement, cash credit limits have also been sanctioned,” said secretary for food and civil supplies Gurkirat Kirpal Singh.


    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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