Gloomy forecast for wheat farmers
With western disturbances fast approaching North India, the weather from Wednesday is forecast to be unfavourable for the maturity of wheat crop.
Both Punjab and Haryana should brace for further damage to the crop, if the prediction of experts at the Chandigarh metrological centre is accurate. “Partly or fully cloudy days with thundery development along with windy conditions are expected from March 25 to 28, though it may or may not rain. But between March 29 and 31, there are chances of heavy showers,” said Chandigarh Met department director Surinder Pal Singh, who added that this effect 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 lossses 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 heactres under wheat. With more rainy days and strong winds ahead, this figure will rise. A tough time for the crop to mature,” said HAU vice-chancellor Krishan Singh Khokhar. “However, if the temperatures remain low and there is no rainfall, the crop can recover during the night,” he added.
Punjab CM 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 the final damage report for the revenue department.
Asked if the Punjab government had any response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to the CM’s letter seeking `700 crore as compensation to the state for the loss of rabi crop, 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. It will meet not only the CM but also agricultural experts.” About the rain in March, weather experts have said that it is unseasonal. For the last three years, showers in this month have been delaying the harvesting of wheat. Farmers in both states expect compensation from the government in case of further loss.