Concerns of possible damage to the cotton and paddy crop are rising with heavy rain lashing Punjab and Haryana over the last two days.
Both crops are at maturity stage and at least one paddy variety, PUSA 1509, is already being harvested. Director, Punjab Agriculture, Dr Jasbir Singh Bains said reports of standing paddy crop getting flattened due to rain and wind, known as lodging in agricultural parlance, were coming in from various parts of Punjab, and the damage could be assessed only after the rain stopped.
Lodging prevents the grain from developing properly, can lead to discolouration, and also affects the per acre yield.
In Haryana, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department Joint Director Jagraj Dhandi told The Indian Express that continuous rain over the past two days in the state would have an adverse effect on paddy, cotton and bajra.
“Lodging will affect quality of the rice. It reduces yield and affects the colour. Cotton and bajra are almost at the stage of harvesting. The rains will lead to moisture in the blooming cotton balls, blackening them. In some areas, the farmers have started harvesting cotton but the rains will damage or affect their quality badly. The rain will also affect bajra crop, which is also ready for harvest,” said Dhandi.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Haryana unit joint secretary Dayanand Punia said that in southern Haryana, heavy rain has flattened crops. “Earlier, the drought like situation badly affected the bajra crop in Bhiwani, Mahendragarh and Hisar district and now rains have flattened the remaining crop,” he said.
With just one day of rain, Punjab, has made up for the monsoon shortfall, but at the wrong time for farmers preparing for the harvest at month end. Punjab’s normal rainfall is 490 mm for the period from June to September end. Till September 22, Punjab had received only 391 mm rain but with Saturday’s rain, it has now gone up to 442 mm.
Over the last 48 hours, Punjab had heavy rainfall at several places including 175 mm in Rampura, 117 mm in Kapurthala, 103 mm in Nwanshahr, 92 mm in Balachaur, 143 mm in Barnala etc. The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted more rain over Monday and Tuesday for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In Himachal, schools will remain closed due to heavy rain.
In Punjab, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha announced closure of all schools in the district on Monday due to the rain. Schools will close in other districts of Majha region also. In Batala, district authorities have issued a warning asking people not to go near water channel sources. Schools will function normally in other parts of Punjab.
“Huge quantity of water has been released from the Chamera dam in Himachal Pardesh due to heavy rain so all public is warned against going near to any water channel, including canals,” the Batala district public relations office has warned.
According to PTI, schools in at least nine of 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh will remain closed on Monday after rains and snowfall lashed many parts of the state, officials said Sunday. All government and private schools in Shimla, Sirmaur, Kangra, Kullu, Chamba, Mandi, Kinnaur, Solan and Hamirpur districts have been directed to remain closed as a precautionary measure, they said. Officials also said the Beas river and its tributaries flowing through Hamirpur district were in spate and the administration has directed the people not to go near the river.
Officials of two major Punjab dams — Bhakra Dam over Sutlej river and Pong Dam over river Beas — said as the water levels are way below their maximum reservoir capacity and there would be no water release even if it rained heavily in the catchment area of these dams in Himachal Pradesh.
According to the information procured from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) Pong Dam in Talwara, the level of water was 1378.88 feet on Sunday evening while the inflow of water from catchment area was 1,32 807 cusecs, the highest ever inflow in dam of this rainy season starting from June month. The highest capacity of the dam is 1390 feet. In the past 36 hours, the level of the water has gone up by 2.5 feet. It was 1376.52 on September 22 morning and on Sunday evening it was 1379. There is no outflow of the water from dam to the down stream as dam still does not have any surplus water to release, said Chief Engineer, D R Meena, BBMB (Pong Dam) Talwara.