CHANDIGARH: Parminder Singh, who owns about 30 acres of land at Palmajra village near Samrala in Punjab, is staring at a major financial loss as the yield of wheat per acre has decreased by three to eight quintals this year due to sudden rise in temperatures.
Gurpreet Singh Sahabana, who has 15 acres of land near Ludhiana, and Kiran Pal Singh Sodhi, who owns around 60 acres near Zira, are also facing a similar situation.
All of them want compensation from the government as they are facing losses because of shrivelled wheat grains due to early onset of heat wave.
On Wednesday, five Central government teams reached Punjab and took samples from grain markets across the state to assess the problem of shrivelled wheat grains.
The samples were sent to different laboratories for testing.
The teams are likely to submit their reports on Thursday, based on which a decision on granting relaxation in the specifications for wheat procurement could be taken.
The yield of wheat in Punjab, which is known as the ‘food bowl of India’ is expected to be less this season due to the sudden rise in temperature.
The state government has claimed that the grain has shrivelled by 10 to 20 per cent.
The Centre allows only six per cent of shrivelled grains in its wheat procurement.
The state cabinet on Wednesday appeal to the Union government to relax procurement norms without any value cut since the farmers are already suffering on account of lower yields.
The prevalence of hot and dry winds during the development retard the growth of the grain and it gets shrivelled, which in turn leads to a decline in the yield. Waterlogging due to rains in December and lack of timely availability of DAP and urea are the other reasons for poor yield this year.
According to government sources, wheat was sown on 35 lakh hectares across Punjab this season and the expected yield is 1,800 kg while in 2020-21, it was sown on 35.30 lakh hectares and the yield was 1,940 kg per acre.
“Till first week of March, the weather was fine and then suddenly temperatures rose when it was the seed filling stage. Due to the heat, the grain shrivels and weight drops. The yield is likely to drop by 200-300 kg per acre,” said agriculture expert Davinder Sharma.
Law amended for rural fund
The AAP government has amended the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, so that the state can claim rural development fund from the Centre for paddy procurement.
The Central government had in 2020 mandated the states to make amendments in their laws and specify the RDF usage to claim the fund.
The move was aimed at preventing diversion of funds for purposes other than development work in rural areas.
The state cabinet approved the Punjab Rural Development (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022, on Wednesday.
Last year, the state government had assured the Centre on bringing amendments in law to specify the RDF usage.