M A I N   N E W S

Farmers knee-deep in rain misery
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

We are keeping our fingers crossed as the met department has predicted that the rain will continue for another two days.

— Dr B.S. Sidhu, director, agriculture, Punjab

Jalandhar, September 19
Tension has gripped farmers as well as agriculture officials due to the incessant rain in many parts of the state.

What has added to their worries is official prediction that various parts of Punjab will witness moderate to heavy rain till September 21.

“Rain is not required at this stage in any part of the state,” said Balwinder Singh Sidhu, director, agriculture, Punjab. While the picking of cotton crop has already started in the Malwa region, harvesting of paddy is about to start in about 10 days.

“Heavy rain can cause havoc and dash the hopes of farmers who are expecting bumper paddy and cotton crop this year,” said Sidhu.

Official sources said the Chandigarh-Patiala-Sangrur and the Mansa belt had witnessed heavy rain. However, the Bathinda region, the main cotton belt, was dry till late this evening.

Punjab is expecting the production of 22 lakh bales of cotton from 5.25 lakh hectares that is under this crop. Besides, the state is hopeful of 160 lakh tonne production of paddy from 26.60 lakh hectares.

Of the total area covered under paddy, about 3.5 lakh hectares is under premium varieties of rice, which fetch a very high price in domestic as well as in the international market.

“So far the crop is in a good shape. It is almost free from any major disease. However, the current spell of rain can play the villain,” said Sidhu. “We are praying that menacing clouds turn away,” said Gurdial Singh, a local farmer.

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Farmers in Haryana are a worried lot as their cotton and paddy crop is ready for harvest. With the weatherman predicting a prolonged wet spell, it can spell disaster for them.

Vigorous rainfall in Haryana, with almost 150 mm of rainfall recorded in Safidon (Jind), has led to severe water logging in farmers’ fields. Heavy rainfall (between 90 mm to 120 mm) in Faridabad, Mewat, Gurgaon and Narnaul (Mahendragarh) has damaged paddy, guar and bajra crops in these areas. Cotton crop, which is now at the picking stage, too has been adversely affected in Fatehabad district, where 80 mm of rainfall has been recorded.

While most of the paddy growing areas in the state recording losses, state agriculture minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha has asked the department to get into action and assess the damage.

“With high-speed winds having flattened the basmati crop in most areas in Karnal and Kurukshetra, and the flattened crop getting submerged in the fields today, farmers have suffered heavy losses,” he said.



Textile commissioner yet to announce cotton price

Though the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices has announced the MSP for cotton, that is Rs 2,500 per quintal, the Textile Commissioner of India, who is stationed at Mumbai, has not announced the variety-wise MSP of cotton.

The commissioner determines the MSP on the basis of the length of staple of cotton, whereas the commission makes a general recommendation.

As Punjab’s cotton is medium staple, the state government is expecting that commission will fix Rs 2,700 per quintal. However, sources said, as cotton crop had been hit by bad weather in the past days in the Maharashtra-Andhra region in recent days, there is all possibility that cotton price will shoot up in days to come.

However, the lobby of cotton millers is building pressure on the union government not to release the quota of cotton for export to keep its price on the lower side. If the quota is released at this stage, the cotton price will certainly rule above Rs 3,000 per quintal in the domestic market.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |