Unseasonal rains strike Punjab and Haryana, opposition calls for support to farmers
Widespread rainfall accompanied by high-velocity winds at some places lashed vast swathes of Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday, with opposition parties demanding a revenue survey to assess the crop loss. The maximum temperatures dropped by several notches after the rains, Meteorological Department officials said.
The day temperatures settled between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius at most places in the two states and Chandigarh, hovering eight to 11 notches below normal limits, they said. Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, was also lashed by rains during the day.
The change in weather was caused by a western disturbance, weather officials said. There were also report of hailstorm lashing few places in the two states. Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal sought a special 'girdawari' by the state government to assess the crop loss following untimely rains.
In a statement here, Badal also demanded interim relief and compensation to the farmers. He said that every affected farmer must be paid a minimum of Rs 15,000 per acre as compensation. A special 'girdawari' must be ordered as quickly as possible because revenue officials might soon get busy with poll duties in view of Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats going to polls next month and this may result in a delay in relief and disbursal of compensation to affected farmers, Badal said.
The opposition Aam Aadmi Party said farmers in Punjab have suffered "unprecedented losses" due to untimely rains and high-velocity winds, leaving their wheat crop flattened acres over acres. Leader of Opposition, Punjab, Harpal Singh Cheema, said the untimely rain has destroyed a major chunk of the wheat crop, which was ready for harvesting.
The AAP leader said that while the impact of the rain was widespread in the state, it was more in areas like Rupnagar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Fazilka, Kapurthala and Bathinda. Cheema urged the government to get a 'girdawari' done on a priority basis to assess the losses and release compensation to the affected farmers within a given time frame. In Haryana, opposition INLD demanded that the state government immediately order a 'giradwari' to assess the crop loss.
"The government must come to the aid of farmers who have suffered damage due to untimely rains," INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala said. Meanwhile, Haryana's Finance and Revenue Minister Abhimanyu said the Revenue Department has been asked to immediately prepare a report on the loss caused to crops due to untimely rains, hailstorm and high-speed winds.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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