M A I N   N E W S

Squall, hailstorm hit wheat, vegetable crops
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
High velocity winds accompanied by hailstorms early this morning have damaged mango, grapes, vegetable and wheat crops at various places in Punjab and other parts of this region. Farmers say that fast blowing winds have flattened the wheat crop at several places in the state.

Squall that hit various places of this region was followed by light to moderate rain. Reports reaching here from Bathinda have indicated that a cluster of villages, including Lehri, Kalalwala, Mirzeana, Faggu and Natheha, was hit by the hailstorm shortly after midnight. Tomato crop and grapes orchards have been badly affected at several places in the Bathinda-Sirsa-Suratgarh belt. Mango crop has been hit in areas near Chandigarh.

Teams of the Agriculture Department have rushed to places from where reports of damage caused by hailstorm and squall have come. Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab said today that “my officials were verifying the reports regarding damage by making on the spot inspections”.

He said the prevailing inclement weather was not good for wheat and other crops.

“It would be better if the clouds disappear fast. The harvesting of the wheat crop is about to start in a week and there is need of sunny days at present”, he added. Farmers also say that they want hot and dry weather at this stage.

Mr Malkiat Singh, a farmer from Mirzeana village near Talwandi Saboo, said that about 80 per cent of the vegetable crop in his village had been damaged. Similar views were expressed by other farmers of the area.

In Patiala district, the wheat crop has been flattened in vast stretches of fields between Rajpura and Bahadurgarh. Farmers will face difficulty to reap the flattened wheat crop. Such crop can also not be harvested by combine harvester.

The government procurement agencies will start wheat procurement operation in Punjab from April 1. The agencies have fixed a target to procure about 90 lakh tonne of wheat out of the total output of 146.70 lakh tonne in the state.


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