Punjab: Single Day’s Rain Ruins Crops In 90,500 Acres || SNE
By THE INDIAN EXPRESS .
Jul 24, 2019
Crops like paddy, cotton, maize, basmati and vegetables were damaged in Bathinda, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Muktsar and Sangrur.
While Bathinda suffered the worst damage (see box), Muktsar and Sangrur districts are second and third with crop damage across 23,662 acres and 21,775 acres respectively. A total of 58 villages got affected with maximum damage in Muktsar block where 15,000 acres of farmland got damaged. Giddarhbaha block recorded a damage in 8,000 acres.
In Sangrur, 21,775 acres got damaged in 30 villages of six agricultural blocks with 16,000 acres in Andana block affected.
Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts have recorded crop damage on 9,340 acres and 7,207 acres respectively. In Fatehgarh, 100 villages faced the brunt of torrential rain and Sirhind block recorded maximum loss of crop on 4,600 acres. In Patiala, paddy and maize got damaged on 6,461 acres and 1,156 acres respectively.
In Patiala maximum loss was reported from Bhuner Heri block (3,000 acres) with 126 villages affected.
In total paddy/basmati crop over 57,320 acres was damaged alongwith 21,362 acres of cotton crop and 12,000 acres of vegetables, fodder, maize in a single day.
Experts said that rain would have not caused much damage because paddy and maize were at the initial stage and in need of water, but waterlogging due to blocked drains was the culprit. They further said that proper drainage of water from fields was the need of the hour.
“This rain has uprooted paddy and cotton crop on my six-acre plot which is still under 3 feet of water. From where get the money to return the rent for the land which is Rs 3.60 lakh (Rs 60,000 per acre) per year. The government should do something to save the farmers,” said Hardeep Singh of Mian village in Bathinda block.
“We should be compensated as per the paddy MSP, which is Rs 1,815 per quintal. We get around 30 quintals paddy per acre,” he added.
Jagsir Singh, another farmer and leader of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), said that the condition of Behman Diwana and Deon villages is very bad with all fields under 3-4 feet water even a week after the heavy rain. He said that the drainage department had not cleaned the drains in Bathinda area due to which the water is still not receding.
“All my paddy crop on five acres got washed in the heavy rain. Now I cannot sow anything due to waterlogging as sowing time of the main kharif season crops is over,” said farmer Hakam Singh of Deon village.
Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary of BKU Dakunda, said that government should chalk out a permanent solution of water logging in the fields due to heavy rain as every year whenever heavy rain takes place the crops got damaged. He also said that all the drains in the rural and urban area must be cleaned well before the rainy season to avoid any choking and damage to the crop.
Punjab Agriculture Department Director Dr Sutantra Airy said that as per their survey, crops can be saved in certain areas if there is no more rain in the coming days and arrangements to drain water from the fields can be made.
According to the Indian Meteorological department’s Chandigarh office, Bathinda, Patiala, Muktsar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur have already recorded 213 per cent, 70 per cent, 68 per cent, 36 per cent and normal rain, respectively, while over two months of rainy season are still ahead.
Meanwhile, the breach in the Ghaggar river is yet to be repaired fully, with 30% of it still left unplugged in Sangrur’s Moonak area. Farmers in Bathinda and Muktsar have submitted memorandums to their respective deputy commissioners stating that water was not being drained from their fields fast enough, exposing their crops to extensive damage.
Special Chief Secretary-cum-Finance Commissioner, Revenue of Punjab, Karanbir Singh Sidhu visited Phulad village near Moonak on Monday to review ongoing work of plugging the breach in Ghaggar.
Speaking to residents, Sidhu assured them that the Punjab government is worried about crop damage and assured that once the water in fields recedes, a special survey of crop loss will be initiated and a report will be sent to the government for issuing compensation.\
Bathinda worst affected
The agriculture department report states that crops spread across 28,579 acres were damaged in Bathinda, including 16,340 acres of cotton crop and 12,339 acres of paddy. Seven agricultural blocks of the districts faced crop loss with Bathinda block on top where 9,985 acres came under rainwater, followed by Talwandi Sabo block, where crop across 5,662 acres got damaged. Nathana block too faced crop damage across around 3,700 acres. The loss was due to heavy rain and breaches in drains and canals. There have been fights among farmers in 3-4 villages when water from one’s field was being drained into another’s.
The BKU (Ugrahan) had submitted a memorandum to the DC asking him to get the work expedited as water had stagnated in their farm lands for more than a week now. In Bathinda, a 20-year record of the highest amount of rain in a single day had been broken last week.
Shingara Singh Maan, president of BKU (Ugrahan), Bathinda, told The Indian Express said, “It rained heavily in Bathinda last week, this week it was almost dry. However, water has yet not been drained out of fields even after a week. We have given a memorandum to the Bathinda DC seeking a solution for the same. Even 450 houses in the district have been damaged. We have sought compensation for villagers.”