Chandigarh, September 22
Thanks to the widespread rain on Saturday and a similar prediction for the next two days, Punjab is likely to finish this monsoon with normal rainfall. It will be the first time since 2011 that the state will have a normal monsoon.
With Saturday’s rain, the state has so far recorded 393.9 mm rainfall this season and till the fourth week of September, 468.1 mm is expected. The state was 16 per cent deficient, but according to the Chandigarh Meteorological Centre, the entire gap is likely to be filled with the current spell.
The state had last witnessed a normal rainfall in 2011. At that time, it was 7 per cent above normal.
Twelve districts have so far witnessed normal rainfall. It was deficient in six districts — Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Kapurthala — and scanty in Mansa, Fazilka and Ferozepur. Ropar district witnessed excess rainfall with around 1,000 mm so far.
The current spell of rain will start receding on Monday, while some isolated places will receive heavy rainfall. A drop in both day and night temperatures was recorded. The maximum temperature fell to 32 degree Celsius and the minimum was 22°C.
Meanwhile, farmers have said that the current spell of rain will prove harmful for paddy. Jagmohan Singh, state general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said those who had sown short-term varieties of paddy would suffer the most as the harvest had already started reaching the market. He said the discolouration of high-quality basmati would affect crop prices. The ongoing showers will also delay harvest, he added.
“There have been no case of crop damage so far, but if it continues to rain incessantly tomorrow and strong winds blow, then it can result in major crop damage,” said Baldev Singh Latala, state vice-president of the All India Kisan Sabha.
In Malwa, cotton farmers are a worried lot, apprehending crop loss due to incessant rain.
Though the area under cotton cultivation came down in Malwa this year, the farmers were expecting a bumper yield. However, with the forecast of heavy rain in the state for three days just around the harvesting time, they fear the worst now.
The cotton had started arriving in the market in areas such as Fazilka and the farmers were upbeat, as their produce was already fetching a price of above Rs 5,800 per quintal.
Agriculture experts have advised the farmers not to irrigate their fields in view of the rainfall, as it increases the threat of flattening of crops, if strong winds accompany the rainfall. Earlier this year, the government had raised the MSP of cotton from Rs 4,020 to Rs 5,150 per quintal.
Kamal Deep Singh, a farmer from Jalandhar district, said most of the paddy sown on nearly 1,500 acres had got submerged. “We have been asking district officials to provide pump sets for draining out water. It seems unlikely that the standing crop will survive if it continues to rain till Sunday morning.”
In Patiala, the district administration is keeping a close watch on the water level in the Ghaggar.
The poll panel has convened a press conference at 4.30 pm
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