Rain Threat Dampens Farmers' Mood in Punjab, Haryana

Chandigarh, April 16 (IANS) Ready to harvest their wheat crop, farmers in Punjab and Haryana are watching the overcast sky with worry. More rain and thunderstorm forecast over the next two days could damage their ripened crops.

"This rain is very bad for our standing crop and is also hampering the harvesting process. We are praying to the rain gods all day and night... otherwise we may have to incur huge loses," Sukhwinder Singh Dhaliwal, a farmer based in Zirakpur town of Punjab, told IANS.

Light rain and thunderstorms lashed various parts of the region Friday night.

Another farmer Harmanjit Sandhu said: "Overcast conditions are prevailing in this region and yesterday's rainfall has also led to a slight dip in the temperature. Due to the rain, ripening of our crop will take longer. Moreover, rains also increase the problems of storage as grains are lying in open spaces in various mandis (grain markets) at the moment."

The weatherman has predicted more rains in the region in the coming hours. The Haryana government has advised farmers to take preventive measures to avoid damage to their wheat crop.

"We are expecting light to moderate spells of rain in various parts of Punjab and Haryana during the next 48 hours. The rains will be accompanied by strong winds and thunderstorms. Rain at this time of the year is not good for the wheat crop that is ready for harvesting," a meteorological department official told IANS here Saturday.

In Punjab, government agencies and private millers have procured over 84,000 tonnes of wheat till Friday. Out of total procurement, government agencies have procured 81,081 tonnes (around 97 percent).

"Wheat procurement is gradually picking up in the state. In the wake of rain forecast, we have made necessary arrangements. We have set up 1,634 procurement centres and activated our total machinery to ensure smooth procurement of wheat," the Punjab government spokesperson said Saturday.


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