LAHORE                  -          Countrywide rains disturbed routine life by causing urban flooding, massive traffic jams and frequent power shutdowns. Rains coupled with isolated hailstorm caused damage to the ripened wheat crop in parts of the province. Experts have predicted the wet spell to continue intermittently on Saturday (today).

The rains started last day and continued intermittently till filing of this report on Friday night, causing inundation of rainwater on roads, portions of roads and roadsides in major cities including Lahore. The rains added to the woes of motorists and pedestrians.

 Massive traffic jams were witnessed on inter and intracity roads. Several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of the city. Strong winds and wet conditions caused tripping of more than 150 Lesco feeders. More than two dozens feeders could not be restored even until filing of this report. The rains also damaged wheat crop in parts of the province though the real estimates could not be given at the present stage.

Growers desperately needed early warning system to devise their sowing or harvesting plans instead of issuing weather advisory just two days ahead, said a progressive grower Aamir Hayyat Bhandara.

When asked about the impact of recent rain spell on different crops, Aamir said that Punjab was witnessing such rain spells in March and April for the last five years.

He said such spells had different impact such as it might be harmful for the mature wheat crop as coupled with strong wind caused lodging in the crop. Similarly, he said that harvesting of potato was going on and wet spells could damage the crop.

He said the government should devise early warning system for such changing weather patterns. He said he had been advocating crop insurance for the last many years and system was introduced too but it needed to be expanded to compensate the growers bearing loss in such events.

Aamir Hayyat Bhandara said that usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and enhancing outreach by usage of radio, television and other modern gadgets was of utmost importance. He said that there was also a need to develop storages through PASSCO or other such organizations to save the hard labour of the growers.