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India - Cold wave takes toll on crops

A steep fall in mercury level due to ongoing cold waves has started causing harm to crops in Bokaro district.

“Potato, tomato, peas, mustard and its varieties, and leafy vegetables in several hectares of cultivable land were wilt in the pricing cold and due to dense fog. This has caused loss to the farmers of Lodhi, Chatrochati, Chhutu, Karikhurd, Chidri, Sidhawar, Hurlung and in other villages under Chatrochatti Police station at Bermo,” said Anand Mahato a farmer of Chatrochatti Village. If the condition prevails for more days, it will affect crops across the district, he added.

A cold wave coupled with ground frost and dense to very dense fog are now weighing in on Rabi crops including vegetations in several parts of the district. It may cause harm to the crops worth several lakh if temperature goes below 4 degree Celsius and continues for more than 12 hours, said P Mahato an official (Agriculture) of Krishi Vigyan Kendra Bokaro.

Fog and ground frost strike mostly in tandem and have contrasting implications on Rabi crop. Though rabi wheat may be less sensitive to frost, but other crops such as mustard, gram and pulses are known to be extremely sensitive, said an expert.

The vegetation will not necessarily be damaged on a night where the air cools down leaves to below their freezing point. But once frost forms, it is possible that sharp ice crystals may damage leaf cells. Certain bacteria are known to be particularly effective at triggering frost formation, an expert said.

According to the Met department official, the coal and steel belt of Jharkhand experienced a minimum of 5.5 to 6.5 degrees Celsius temperature for the past seven days.

This unexpected free fall in temperature has spurred  cold wave, entire State is in the grip of the North Wind, which will drag down minimum temperatures further in another 24 hours, he said adding “the chill has intensified because of the strong and dry current, heavy snowfall in northern India is adding to the crispness of weather in Jharkhand.”

In view of the increasing outbreak of cold, Deputy Commissioner Bokaro Mukesh Kumar has directed to distribute blankets among the poor in all blocks of the district with immediate effect.

Following the directive, BDO Gomia Moni Kumari and Circle Officer OP Mandal distributed blankets among about 300 villagers in Dumri, Khakanda, Badki Sidhwara, and Tulbul (Birhor Tola areas) of the block, informed DPRO.

“Besides blankets, biscuits were also distributed among the children,” he added.

On the directive of DC Bokaro bonfire arrangements have also been done at several nooks and corners and at bus stands and railway stations in the district. Medicines are available in all health centers and 24-hour health workers are ready to deal with any accidental event, said DPRO.

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