M A I N   N E W S

Rain good for wheat but harmful for edible oil crops
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
While poor people, especially labourers, rickshaw-pullers and other daily wage earners, are having a miserable time owing to the prevailing freezing weather conditions, farmers are also worried because of the persisting inclement weather for the past some days.

The cold wave accompanied by fast-blowing winds and rain have not only hit the poor hard but have also flattened wheat and other crops in various parts of the region. Edible oil crops, especially mustard crop, have been hit by the prevailing bad weather in certain parts of the Kandi area.

“Rain at this stage is good for the wheat crop but harmful for the edible oil crops, such as early sown mustrad”, say farmers. Agriculture experts also endorse what farmers say. Asked in this connection, Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, said today that cold temperature conditions and rain were good for the wheat crop. However, he said, that the fast-blowing winds were a cause of worry because the early sown wheat crop was heading towards maturity and windy conditions were not good for it at this stage.

Experts say that rain is also not useful for the potato crop that is on the harvesting stage. Rain has hit the tomato crop in Himachal Pradesh.

Reports of moderate to heavy rain have come from all parts of this region which includes Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J and K. Upper and even lower reaches of western Himalayas had several spells of snowfall in the past 48 hours. Officers monitoring the snowfall in the Himalayas told The Tribune this afternoon that almost the entire upper western range of the Himalayas had a good spell of snowfall last night and early this morning. Snowfall is considered useful for apple orchards.

Certain areas in Punjab have also been hit by hailstorms. Whether any damage has been caused by these hailstorms, it is yet to be ascertained by the authorities concerned.

Met officials say that the reports of heavy rain had come from the Doaba region of Punjab today. While in Nawanshahr rainfall has been recorded 22 mm, it was little less in Adampur. In Patiala and Ludhiana, it has been in the range of 11 mm and 15 mm, respectively. In Karnal and Hisar, it has been recorded 6 and 11 mm, respectively, whereas in Chandigarh it was in the range of 11 mm. Reports of good rainfall have also come from Shimla, Bhuntar and other parts of the Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Punjab Agriculture Department is expecting 148 lakh tonnes of wheat from 33 lakh hectares under the crop this year. Area under wheat is less this year compared to last year when it was 34.44 lakh hectares. Besides wheat the other major rabi crop is mustard. It has been sown in 70,000 hectares. Barley has also been sown in certain areas but the area under this crop is less.

Farmers as well as labourers want bright sunny weather now. “ If the prevailing weather conditions persisted for some more days, farmers would be hit hard”, say experts. Agriculture is the lifeline of the economy of this region. Adverse affect on it in any manner hits all sections of society in one way or the other.

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