Widespread rainfall accompanied by high-velocity winds lashed vast swathes of Punjab and Haryana Wednesday, causing damage to crops. The maximum temperatures dropped by several notches after the rains, Meteorological (MeT) Department officials here said.
Rains also lashed parts of the two states on Tuesday. Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, was also lashed by rains during the day.
The day temperatures Wednesday settled in the range of 23-26 degrees Celsius at most places in the two states and Chandigarh, hovering eight to eleven notches below the normal limits, the officials said. The change in weather was caused by a Western Disturbance, weather officials here said.
There was also report of hailstorm lashing few places in the two states. On Wednesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered a special 'girdawari' or revenue survey for the assessment of crop loss resulting from the untimely rainfall and high-velocity winds in the state.
Expressing concern over the crop losses, the Punjab chief minister ordered urgent steps to ascertain the extent of the damage to crops so that due compensation could be awarded to the affected farmers at the earliest. In his directive to the concern departments and officials, the chief minister asked them to commence, without delay, the process of conducting special 'girdawari' for damage assessment due to weather disruptions, an official spokesperson said.
He said the chief minister has directed that the assessment be undertaken and completed on priority. In neighbouring Haryana, Finance and Revenue Minister Abhimanyu said Wednesday that the Revenue Department has been asked to immediately prepare a report on the loss caused to crops due to untimely rains, hailstorm and high-velocity winds.
Earlier during the day, opposition parties in Punjab and Haryana had demanded that the government order special 'girdawari' to assess crop loss following untimely rains In a statement here, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, while seeking the 'special girdawari', also demanded interim relief and compensation to the farmers.
He said every affected farmer must be paid a minimum of Rs 15,000 per acre as compensation. "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 before the chief minister gave orders.
Opposition Aam Aadmi Party party said farmers in Punjab have suffered "unprecedented losses" due to untimely rains and high-velocity winds, leaving their wheat crop flattened. Leader of Opposition, Punjab, Harpal Singh Cheema, said the untimely rains have destroyed a major chunk of the wheat crop, which was ready for harvesting.
The AAP leader said 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 '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 'girdwari' to assess 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.
(With inputs from agencies.)