Thunderstorm and squall warning in Chandigarh, Punjab leave wheat farmers worried

"The wind and dust storms were produced by the low pressure caused by hot weather conditions. This is due to the presence of Western disturbances.The good news is that the temperature will remain below 40 degree Celsius during the next day," Director Met Department, Dr Surender Paul told India Today.

Repeated dust and thunderstorms besides rains have dipped the temperature in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana at least by two to three degrees during the last three days.The maximum temperature in Chandigarh which was highest in six years i.e. 40 degree Celsius has now come down to 37 degrees.

The Met department has predicted similar weather conditions for next 36 hours. The weather largely will remain unchanged till the end of this month. Met department officials have issued thunderstorm and squall warning and said the Southern Haryana including Narnaul and South Punjab will continue to reel under hot weather conditions and the temperature in these areas will be above 40 degrees.

"The wind and dust storms were produced by the low pressure caused by hot weather conditions. This is due to the presence of Western disturbances.The good news is that the temperature will remain below 40 degree Celsius during the next day," Director Met Department, Dr Surender Paul told India Today.

A drop in maximum temperature has come as a respite for the people of Chandigarh who were compelled to stay indoors during the day as the temperature rose above 40 degree Celsius during the last week. The tourist places in Chandigarh including the famous Sukhna lake are dotted with watermelon,cucumber,lemon water,coconut water and ice cream stalls.The lake is abuzz with the tourists who are enjoying boating throughout the day.

"It is pleasant here and the weather is not as hot as it is in our state. We are here for a couple of days and will be leaving for the hilly state, Himachal Pradesh." Vivek Agnihotri, a tourist from Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh said.

Local resident Som Nath attributes excessive use of air conditioners and increasing vehicular traffic for the rise in temperature.

"A decade ago, Chandigarh was not as hot as it is today. Fewer people used air conditioners and there were less vehicles on the road. It is due to the pollution that the temperature was highest in last six years ," says Som Nath.

While on one hand the rains and dust storms have dropped the temperature, on the other hand it has badly hit the wheat farmers in Punjab and Haryana. The wind storms have flattened the standing wheat crop and have also affected the harvesting as the rains added moisture to the wheat grains. Farmers at many places have stopped taking crops to the markets fearing the rain.

"The inclement weather has badly affected the harvesting season. The abrupt rise in temperature first ripened the crop in advance and now the rains have delayed crop harvesting or transpiration," says a Karamjit Singh, a Punjab farmer.

The agriculture scientists, however say that the inclement weather has actually helped the farmers and the loss as reported in many areas is not much.

"It is true that the crop was ripened due to the rise in temperature but it also saved the farmers from a huge loss as more than 80 percent of the crop had already been harvested. Had the crop not matured, farmers would have lost a major part of their crop." Gurmeet Singh, Assistant Professor, Punjab Agriculture University Research Centre, Kapurthala said.