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Rain damages wheat crop
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Moderate to heavy rain in various parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh has caused considerable damage to the rabi crops especially wheat which is at the maturing stage. 

Though the exact details of the damage were not available immediately, official sources said that “damage has been caused to the wheat crop at certain places especially in the Malwa belt where rain was accompanied with fast-blowing winds.”

According to reports received here from the countryside, there was heavy rain in the Amritsar-Ludhiana and Bathinda zone of Punjab and the Shimla region of Himachal Pradesh. There has been heavy rain also in the Fatehabad-Hisar belt of Haryana whereas moderate rain has been reported from the Ambala-Karnal belt.

What has caused concern among farmers and agriculture experts is that the rain at most places was accompanied with fast-blowing winds. It has led to the lodging of the wheat crop in the vast area of the Malwa belt of Punjab and the Hisar belt of Haryana.

Asked about the prevailing inclement weather, Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said that “not even a single drop of rain is required at this stage in this region. It is proving harmful to the crops. It would be better if the sky becomes clear at the earliest. Farmers need sunny weather now.”

He said that before the rain yesterday, the wheat and other Rabi crops were in very good health except in the areas where these were hit by hailstorms a few days ago.” But rain in the past 24 hours a danger to the crops”, he added. Punjab and Haryana are expecting a record wheat production this year.

“We have estimated that the wheat output this year will exceed last year’s figure of 149 lakh tonnes,” he added. But, all this would depend on the weather, he added.” If the sky becomes clear and the next five weeks remain free from any weather trouble, one can say with authority that Punjab farmers will be set to reap a rich harvest of wheat”, said Mr Sidhu. “We are keeping our fingers crossed,” he added.

According to the local met office, the maximum rainfall (27 mm) was recorded in Ludhiana and 22 mm in Shimla. In Amritsar it was 15 mm and at Bhuntar 13 mm. Patiala recorded 7 mm of rainfall and Ambala 19 mm. In Chandigarh it was around 15 mm. In Sundernagar more than 20 mm of rainfall was recorded.

Farmers say that they have been hit hard by the rain. “Till yesterday, everything on the wheat front was fine. But the scenario has changed a bit following rain,” said Gurdial Singh, a farmer of Mansa district. Another farmer from Wara village, near Ratia, said that the rain was accompanied with fast-blowing winds and it flattened the wheat crop in a vast area. In Himachal, the rain has hit the vegetable crops.

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