Dry spell worries Kangra farmers

Dry spell worries Kangra farmers

Damaged wheat crop in Kangra. Photo by writer

Tribune News Service

Ravinder Sood

Palampur, April 10

Farmers in lower areas of Kangra district are worried over the continued dry spell in April. The valley has experienced no rainfall after the first week of February.

This year, several parts of the district have experienced rain below average, adversely affecting the wheat crop.

In Malan, Nagrota Bagwan, Mehanja, Paror and Sulaha areas of Palampur, farmers are the worst hit because their crops have withered in the absence of sufficient irrigation. The rain-fed areas have also been affected badly as over 30 per cent of the crops have been damaged till date. Farmers Suresh Kumar, Vijay, Sher Singh, and Romesh Kumar say that such a dry spell has never been witnessed in the past 30 years.

NK Dhiman, Director Agriculture, said the possibility of the Kangra valley facing a drought seemed real, as the region had not received adequate rainfall. He says that the government is worried that if the dry spell continues for one more week, the situation will worsen. He admits that climate change is one of the major reasons for deficient rainfall in hills for the past five years. “We will have to change the cropping pattern in the state to meet the present challenges being faced by farmers,” he adds.

The water in local rivers, too, is not sufficient in the absence of rain and less snowfall this year. Sanjay Thakur, Executive Engineer, Jal Shakti Department, says that the department is making all efforts to make all local irrigational channels functional.

In the absence of sufficient water in local rivers, many of the irrigation channels have already become defunct as water does not reach tail-end fields.

Sunil Patial, Technical Officer, Tea, says that if drought-like conditions continue, it will also affect tea production in the valley.

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