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Rain brings smiles to farmers

December 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Dec 13: The persisting westerly waves causing rains in the northern parts of the country, including Rawalpindi and Islamabad, on Thursday brought smiles to the residents, especially farmers.

However, many households faced discomfort due to a significant drop in the supply of gas.

The minimum temperature in the twin cities was expected to be less than two degrees centigrade Thursday night while in Murree it has already dropped to -01°C.

As the twin cities witnessed rainfall amounting to around 16 millimetres, the maximum temperature remained around 13 and 12 degrees centigrade, respectively. As a result, a large number of localities mainly in Rawalpindi witnessed negligible gas supply.

“This is strange and bad. Today there is the weekly CNG loadshedding but even then there is no gas since 6am,” said Mahnoor, a resident of Double Road in Rawalpindi. “We do all the cooking on Thursdays and Fridays but this is really troublesome.”

Similar complaints were also received from many other localities of the garrison city and some outlying areas of the federal capital.

Meanwhile, officials in the gas utility company said the first cold wave of the season had created the supply constrains. The demand for heating increased significantly and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) system recorded a jump of 30 per cent consumption during the last 24 hours.

“The gas demand in Rawalpindi and Islamabad has reached around 170-180 million cubic feet compared to 130 million cubic feet on Tuesday evening,” said an official of the SNGPL, adding: “This is despite the fact that CNG stations were operational on Tuesday.”

However, the farming community was happy to see that rains had brought adequate water to their wheat crops.“You can see the difference in the fields in a day or two. The wheat crop will be shinning green within a few hours of sunshine,” said Malik Yousuf, a farmer in rural area near Islamabad.

The satellite imagery at the Met Office website clearly showed a large and dense cluster of clouds over Gilgit-Balitstan, northern KP, northern Punjab and Kashmir extending down to Delhi and Punjab on both sides of the border.

However, the weather system descending into the Subcontinent from northern Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and western China is likely to fizzle out by Friday evening, the Met Office said.

It added that the current spell had brought 25mm rainfall in Khuzdar, 18mm in Karachi, 17mm in Malamjabba, 15mm in Saidu Sharif and Quetta, 9mm in Astore, 88mm in Peshawar and Kalat, 7mm in Bhakkar, 4mm in  Risalpur and Bannu, 3mm in Pattan, Kakul and Chirat, 2mm in Chitral, Kalam and Bannu, 1mm in Multan, Jaccobabad, Barkhan, Dir, Murree, Muzaffarabad and Mianwali while Kalam received 1.5 inch of snowfall.

The lowest temperature of -06 degree Centigrade was recorded in Parachinar followed by Skardu -05°C, Gupis -04°C, Astore and Malamjabba -03°C and Kalam and Gilgit -01°C.

Nabeel Anwar Dhakku adds from Chakwal: Farmers here said the rains would have “a very good impact” on the Rabi crops, particularly wheat. They said December, which had remained dry during the last four year, was likely to witness another rain spell during its last week. “This kind of rain in December has been witnessed after four years,” said Dr Mohammad Hanif, the director of National Weather Forecasting Centre, while talking to Dawn on the phone from Islamabad.

The Rabi crops like wheat, mustard, gram and lentil had been hit by the dry weather. The rain is like the drops of gold for us,” said Mohammad Akram, a farmer in the Karsal village here. “Due to the rain, the ears of wheat corns would be more in number and would be healthy,” said Dr Mohamm-ad Khalid, the district agriculture officer (technical). Due to the dry weather in December the wheat and other crops caught “root rot” disease and were attacked by white ants.