Spectre of drought looms giant over Himachal Pradesh

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 3

With September recording 77 per cent deficient rainfall and October remaining almost dry, a spectre of drought looms large over Himachal Pradesh.

The prolonged dry spell has affected the sowing of early varieties of rabi crops, mainly wheat, and the situation could worsen if rains continued to elude the hill state for some more days.

“The sowing of crops won’t be possible till there is sufficient moisture in the soil. The production is bound to fall by 5 to 10 per cent. The situation is worrisome,” said NK Badhan, state Agriculture Department Director.

An official said the dry spell could also take a toll on cauliflower and cabbage crops, which were at transplantation stage. These crops are grown over 10,000 hectares — 5,200 cauliflower and 4,800 cabbage — mainly in Kullu, Mandi and upper Shimla region. Besides wheat and vegetables, barley, pulses, mustard and linsed are among the other crops grown in Himachal during the rabi season. The decline in temperature too could damage the crops, said agriculture experts.

The winter, meanwhile, has already set in tribal areas of Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts, causing a sharp decline in the minimum temperature.

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