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Farmers worried as heat wave sweeps Uttarakhand

Soaring mercury across the hill state has thrown life out of gear even as meteorologists predicted that the heat wave is likely to continue for some more days. With the temperature touching 42oC on Wednesday, three degrees above normal, farmers in Terai region have raised concern about its detrimental effect on the sowing of kharif crops.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a ‘red-coded’ warning of heat wave in several parts of the state for the next three to four days.
Farmers claim that the soaring mercury is delaying the sowing of kharif crops, mainly paddy and cotton, with water shortage and errant electricity supply compounding the woes.
Natthu Lal Bathla, a farmer from Jafarpur village, said, “Kharif crop is sown in almost one lakh hectares of land in Terai region. However, the unusually high temperatures are delaying sowing activities. If this continues, we will face huge losses as water is scarce and electricity supply is also erratic
Jasvinder Singh Mann, another farmer from Sampatpur, said, “The water sources in our village have dried up. This will affect farmers who don’t have irrigation facilities.”
Talking to TOI, agricultural scientist Anil Hafeez said, “The rising temperatures will be detrimental to the cultivation of paddy and other summer crops. The depleting water level in the region will also affect farming activities.”
Irrigation department engineer Vimal Verma said that the biggest reservoir in the district, Nanak Sagar dam, with a capacity of around 60 million cubic metres has run dry even before the sowing season is over. It caters to around 48,500 acres of arable land in both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
R K Sinha, meteorologist at GB Pant University in US Nagar district, said, “Mercury has crossed the 42oC mark in Terai for the first time this season on Wednesday. Similar conditions are expected to continue to till the second week of June. Western disturbance in the Himalayan region by mid-June is likely to bring rain and thunderstorm.”