M A I N   N E W S

Rain wreaks havoc in region
Amarinder Singh orders special girdawari
Prabhjot Singh and Sarbjit Singh Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Garhshankar, October 11
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today ordered special girdawari in areas affected by unabated spell of moderate to heavy rain since yesterday.

Unprecedented rain has not only created flood-like situation in many low-lying areas, with seasonal nullahs and streams overflowing, but has brought to an abrupt end both harvesting and marketing of farm produce.

In hundreds of acres where paddy had been manually harvested, the farmers could not undertake thrashing operations because of overcast sky and continuous drizzle since last night. Many grain markets of Ropar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar, had virtually become cesspools with auction platforms inundated with rain water.

“We have received reports that besides the manually harvested paddy, even standing crops have been devastated by the continuous rain,” he said revealing that a special survey would be conducted to access the damage caused by the rain.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, the Chief Minister said but for this unprecedented rain, the procurement of paddy in all grain markets was continuing smoothly. “I have asked the department concerned to undertake fresh girdawaris to mitigate the suffering of the farmers. We will do whatever we can to help the farmers who have suffered heavy losses because of this unprecedented spell of rain.”

A Tribune team which undertook an extensive tour of the Doab belt witnessed havoc wreaked by unabated fury of rain. At many places, the standing crop had been flatened.

At several places in Ropar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts, where more than 40 per cent of the paddy crop is still to be harvested, severe damage has been caused to the manually harvested crop which could not be thrashed because of abrupt change in weather.

Field with harvested crop were overflowing with water. “The chances of discolouration of the grain and even fungal attack could not be ruled out,” remarked a farmer who was trying to salvage a part of his harvested crop even in rain.

“In our village, Dhamai, rain has caused tremendous damage,” said Mr Mohinder Singh, a farmer, hoping that rain would end soon. “Most of the farmers had gone for manual harvesting this time. Their produce is almost gone.”

Ludhiana region got the maximum rain, this afternoon. During a visit to the grains markets of Morinda, Khamano and Samrala. 

The Tribune team found paddy heaps submerged in rain water. Rain water was seen racing down from uncovered huge stacks of paddy in grain markets as well in open yards along the Chandigarh-Samrala road.

Around 2 pm, the visibility was reduced almost to zero on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road by the over hanging dense dark clouds and heavy bouts of showers. Drivers, who were plying their vehicles by switching on headlights, had to stop their vehicles at safer places along the road, as driving became not only difficult but highly risky. For about half-an-hour, daylight almost disappeared.

At some places, trees were seen uprooted by fast-blowing winds. Most parts of the Samrala-Ludhiana road turned into a big pool of water this afternoon making it difficult for vehicles to move.

“For us rain at this moment has come as killer”, said Mr Hardial Singh, a farmer from Boormakra village, near Morinda. “These are the clouds of destruction which are hanging around”, he added. About 50 per cent paddy remained to be harvested in most of the village, Gurmeet Singh, a farmer from Bateri village said. “No doubt the yield is very good this year, but rain has started playing the spoilsport”, Mr Balbir Singh of Marauli Khurad village said.

At Samrala mandi, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, said that till last evening everything was moving smoothly. There was no problem with regard to the procurement of paddy. But the heavy downpour today played havoc in no time.

Meanwhile, the state government said today that about 50 per cent paddy had been procured in the state. Till last evening 67,12,960 lakh tonnes of paddy had been procured by the government agencies and private traders.

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