Monday, 2 March 2015

Wheat crop escapes the worst

Some damage from freak rainfall; Centre seeks reports from States

Even as concern was expressed in Parliament on Monday, the Centre has sought reports from States on the impact of unusual rainfall in parts of north India.
Preliminary reports suggested some damage to standing crop from hail in Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and in parts of Vidharbha. But for the rest, the government has reports from States.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who reviewed the situation with senior officials here, was informed that although heavy rains lashed parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab as well, due to late sowing of rabi (wheat crop) the standing wheat crop escaped the worst. Elsewhere some damage was reported to standing fruits and vegetable crop as well as to mustard in Rajasthan.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ordered a special “girdawari” or assessment by the agriculture and revenue department officials to assess the loss. The damage is feared to be widespread because large parts of the State have soil which retains water or where the water does not drain due to a high water table. A Punjab farmer, Sukhwant Singh, said high winds had flattened much of the crop. “Had the rain and winds come about 10 days later the damage would not have been this extensive for the sticks and the grains would have firmed up by then. Also lesser rain without wind would have helped improve the grain quality.”
Meanwhile, the Haryana State Secretariat of CPI(M) has expressed concern over fears of damage to the standing crop. State secretary Surender Singh said: “The hopes of farmers for a bumper crop have been shattered as the crops especially wheat have been flattened just at the verge of maturity.”
The party has demanded immediate survey to assess the extent of damage and declaration of compensation to the affected cultivators.
In Punjab, which had produced a record 113 lakh tons of wheat in 2013-14, the damage to the crops is expected to be less since the wind velocity was not as high.
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