The citizens of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have welcomed the long-awaited first Winter rain which will help dissipate smog that was causing health hazards to the citizens and inconvenience while travelling. The light rain started at around 2:00 pm on Tuesday and continued in various parts of twin cities with occasional gaps. The long-awaited rain-spell of this winter season is although not of much intensity in most parts of the country but still has subsided prevailing smog that engulfed various parts, reducing miseries of the citizens.
Smoggy conditions in plain areas of Punjab due to lack of rain was posing serious health risks to the citizens and inconvenience to the commuters especially on Motorway leading to different Punjab’ province cities. While the present rain-spell was a sigh of relief for the citizens who were suffering from different ailments and allergies due to dusty and polluted atmosphere and especially the travelers facing zero visibility on the Motorway. The weather experts have indicated chances of more rain-thunderstorm with snowfall over the hills at scattered places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Islamabad, upper Punjab, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan during the next 24 hours.
Talking to APP, Meteorologist, PMD, Imran Ahmad Siddiqui said the rain will significantly decrease temperatures across the country and add chill to the weather. He said this rain spell will not be of great intensity but significantly subside the smoggy conditions caused due to pollution in air. The rain spell will continue till Wednesday night, he added. The first spell of rains to bring about positive impact on all Rabi crops, fruit orchards, vegetable farms , pulses and would help to boost their sowing besides helping in enhancing their production during the season. The rains would be most beneficial for wheat, which is major cash crop of the season and a vital source of staple food to fulfill the domestic food requirements as well as for exporting to fetch a reasonable foreign exchange reserves for the country, said Food Security Commissioner in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Dr Imtiaz Ahmad Gopang.
Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that the current rain spell would put positive impact on the seasonal pulses cultivated over thousand of hectares of land across the country and fruit orchards as well as boost their production. The prevailing smog, which was putting negative impact on the growth and nourishment of all citrus fruits including kinow (orange), which was its rapping stage and standing over thousand of hectares across the country, he added. Due to smog and dust existing in the local environment, the process of photosynthesis was badly effected and stopped the growth of citrus, he remarked.
The rains would be a blessing for all crops and act like an cleansing agent for environment, agriculture and human health, besides it would help in removing the smog and settling down the dust, he added.
The wheat sowing, he said in rain fed areas of the country would also get momentum with the first rain fall of the season and farmers would be able to bring more areas under wheat and other seasonal crop cultivation, he observed. Food Security Commissioner further informed that the rains would also help the oil seed farmers for preparing their land for the cultivation of oil seed including mustard, sun flower and others to tackle with the domestic requirements. He said that the Government of Punjab had announced Rs 5,000 per 10 acres subsidy for oil seed growers to encourage the farmers to cultivate the oil seed to overcome the growing edible oil imports into the country. Meanwhile, he said that wheat crop to be cultivated over 8,844.6 thousand hectares to produce about 26.463 million tons of wheat during current sowing season. The rainfall recorded during the last 24 hours was Balochistan: Zhob 28 mm, Barkhan, Kalat 07, Quetta (Smugli 04, Sheikh Manda 01), Lasbella 01. Punjab: Layyah 16, Dera Ghazi Khan 12, Kot addu 11, Khanpur 09, Bhakkar 07, Multan06, Bahawalpur (Airport 03, City 01), Toba Tek Singh 02, Jhang 01.Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Dera Ismail Khan 13, Bannu 01, Sindh.—APP