2% loss feared in wheat production

Patiala farmers claim 20% crop affected | Unions seek compensation

Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 19

The state fears loss of wheat yield up to 2 per cent due to the heavy rains across the state and hailstorm at some places on April 16 and 17.

Though the final report on the loss is under-preparation, government sources revealed that as per preliminary reports made by the field officers, including those of the Agriculture Department, the loss was not as heavy as it looked due to the inclement weather. Farmers and officers are hoping that increase in temperature will help in the recovery of the grain and the loss may not be more than 2 per cent.

Field reports said the rains had delayed the harvesting of wheat almost all over the state and procurement of the crop would be affected.

In Bathinda and Mansa, some damage to the wheat crop has been reported, but is not widespread. Senior farm economist, PAU, GS Romana said the rainfall may delay harvesting of wheat crop by about a week. He said the rain didn’t cause much damage in the area primarily because the farmers had gone for early varieties of wheat and they had stopped irrigating their fields by the time it rained. He said there might have been lodging of wheat crop at isolated places in the region. However, in Muktsar, there were reports of flattening of crop in a few villages, while breach in some canals was reported in Abohar.

Gurvir Singh, a farmer from Bilga village in Jalandhar, said he had sown wheat crop in 35 acres and the rain had flattened the crop in majority of the area.

Patiala Deputy Commissioner said the procurement had resumed in the grain markets but the harvesting had been affected due to the rains. Farmers allege that they have suffered losses up to 20 per cent of the crop but the report prepared by the district administration says not much damage has been reported.

Jagseer Singh, a farmer on the Patiala- Nabha road, said he had suffered about 20 per cent loss. Shawkay Ahmad Parrey, ADC, said, “Our officials have conducted girdawari and submitted reports. No major loss to crop has been reported,” he said.

In Sangrur, Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said not much loss took place. “I have received preliminary reports from all SDMs of the district, but no loss has come to light. The exact information about loss would become clear from girdwari reports,” said DC Thori.

Farmer unions claim heavy losses and have sought immediate compensation. “The Punjab government must immediately release financial compensation to farmers who have suffered huge losses,” said Rajpal Singh, a BKU (Ugraha) leader from Mangwal village.

In Amritsar, farmers from various parts of the district complained of flattening of the wheat crop. Nishan Singh, a farmer from Chabba village claimed, “The untimely rains have caused humid conditions due to which pest attack has been noticed on wheat crop. The spray required to control the pest is an additional burden of Rs 1,000-1,500.”

Kuljit Singh of Mannawala village said farmers were not hopeful of compensation. “Last time when hailstorm was witnessed on ready to harvest basmati crop, the district administration had ordered girdawari to pacify farmers. But actually it was never conducted even as we continued asking for it,” he said.

(Inputs by Perneet Singh in Bathinda, Aakanksha N Bhardwaj in Jalandhar, Ravneet Singh in Patiala, Parvesh Sharma in Sangrur and Manmeet Singh Gill in Amritsar)

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