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April showers play spoilsport
Inclement weather, wet spell to continue
Prabhjot Singh & Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,/Jalandhar April 6
Weather forecast that the wet spell might continue in the region for the next few days has both farmers and farm experts worried. As it is, moderate to heavy rain on Monday accompanied by hailstorms is said to have inflicted extensive damage to the standing wheat crop in Punjab and adjoining states.

Crops of apple and stone fruit have also been hit in Himachal Pradesh. Vegetable crops, gram and even mango orchards have been affected by the hailstorm accompanied by high velocity wind.

While inclement weather affected normal life, uprooting trees and snapping telecom lines, damage to the crops is still being assessed. There was, however, no report of any damage to any crop, claimed Shakuntala Jakhu, secretary, Agriculture, Haryana.

But the Met department’s forecast of inclement weather continuing till April 8 accompanied by winds blowing at a speed of 45 kms, said Punjab’s director, Agriculture Balwinder Singh Sidhu, is “certainly a bad news for the farming community”.

Hailstorms hit the wheat and other rabi crops in the region for the third time during the past one week, he pointed out. Wheat production is certainly going to be affected, he added.

The wet spell has not only delayed harvesting of wheat, because it is difficult to harvest wet stems, but it has also made the standing crops prone to fungal, insect and pest attacks.

Amritsar: Rain on Monday put paid to harvesting plans of farmers, who are already reeling from unseasonal rain in March. Chief Agriculture Officer, Paramjit Singh Sandhu, said the quality of wheat as well as the yield are likely to be affected.

Bathinda: Heavy rain on Monday morning has caused extensive damage to the wheat crop in the fields along highways and link roads. Damage to mature crops of wheat and mustard , apprehend farmers, will not be compensated because of the model code of conduct.

President of BKU Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “I can say with full confidence that there would be a big fall in wheat production in Punjab this year. My estimate is that farmers would suffer a loss of Rs 600 crore and the average yield per acre is unlikely to exceed 16 quintals.”

While the state government had estimated wheat production to be around 150 lakh tonne, it would be lucky if production touches 100 lakh tonne, added Rajewal. He accused the Union government of ‘playing politics’ with wheat and rice.

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