Rain, winds damage wheat crop in Punjab, Haryana

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Chandigarh, April 6 (IANS) Heavy rain, hailstorm and strong winds have damaged nearly-ready-to-harvest wheat crop in Punjab and Haryana, officials said on Thursday

Farmers in both the states rued the untimely rain and strong winds which flattened the standing wheat crop at many places.

The rainfall is likely to lead to higher moisture content in the wheat grains which could lead to lower remuneration to farmers due to the quality of the grain.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered a special survey to assess the damage.

Punjab government spokesperson said the Chief Minister has directed all Deputy Commissioners (DC) to get the losses incurred by the farmers ascertained immediately to ensure adequate and timely compensation for them.

The damage was reported in Sangrur, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mohali, Patiala and Mansa districts.

“The rain and winds could not have come at a worse time. The crop was ready for harvest in seven to 10 days. It will mean a loss to farmers after putting in so much effort in the last 4-5 months,” farmer Swaran Singh of Mohali district told IANS.

Procurement of wheat started in Punjab and Haryana on April 1. Bulk of the grain stocks are expected to arrive in both states after April 10.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sanctioned over Rs 17,990 crore to the Punjab government and over Rs 4,900 crore to the Haryana government as cash credit limit (CCL) for wheat procurement this season.

Both states could procure up to 200 lakh tonnes of wheat grains this season.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday announced that a special survey in the areas where the crops had not been insured under the “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna” would be carried out to assess the crop loss.

The farmers who have insured their crops under the scheme would have to inform the insurance agencies within 48 hours, a Haryana government spokesman said.

–IANS

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