With Punjab ordering assessment of loss to crops because of "excessive" rains, the state government is planning to seek a package from Centre to compensate farmers for the crop loss.
    
"Excessive rains have caused maximum loss to cotton crop in Punjab. A Girdawri (revenue assessment) has been ordered to across the state to wok out the percentage of damage to crops and report will be ready within a week," Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh said.
    
He said the cotton growing areas including Mansa, Bathinda, Fazilka, Abohar, Muktsar areas were hit by "excessive" rains.
    
As per reports gathered from various districts, cotton was affected in Fazilka (25,000 hectares), Muktsar (16,000 hectares), Mansa (2,530 hectares) and Bathinda (2,000 hectares).
    
"The loss could be in the range of 25 to 50 per cent in cotton crop," said the Agriculture Minister.
    
Significantly, damage to cotton crop could be a setback for the state government's ambitious plan of pushing crop diversification programme wherein it was looking to divert area under paddy to alternate crops including cotton, maize, etc.
    
Area under cotton in Punjab went down this Kharif seson on account of "weak" rains as the state brought 4.50 lakh hectares as against the target of 5.20 lakh hectares.
    
Paddy, including, basmati variety was also hit at Amritsar (17,170 hectares), Tarn Taran (7,000 hectares), Fazilka (12,000 hectares), Muktsar (3,600 hectares), Gurdaspur (2,300 hectares), Pathankot (115 hectares), Patiala (100 hectares) was affected while Guar and Maize crops were also feared to have been hit by rains.
    
Punjab Agriculture minister said that the state government would demand financial assistance for loss caused to crops because of excessive rains.
    
"Now package will be demanded from the Centre for the crop damage by heavy rains," said Singh.
    
Notably, Punjab government had already demanded package of Rs 2,330 crore from Centre to deal with delayed monsoon and prolonged dry spell conditions.
    
Under this package, SAD-BJP led state government sought Rs 1,500 crore for diverting electricity from other sectors to farm sector and buying additional power to ensure uninterrupted power supply to farmers and Rs 800 crore on spending diesel.

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