SIALKOT-The weather turned pleasant with light rain which remained continued for the whole day intermittently thereby inundating the low-lying areas and ruining wheat crop across Sialkot district.

It remained dark cloudy with the loud thunder of the clouds. All the low-lying areas were inundated. However, the people enjoyed with the rain as they came out in the streets and roads in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasrur, Zafarwal and surrounding areas. Sialkot MET office forecast more rain in Sialkot region and in all the catchment areas in neighbouring Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

It also affected the standing wheat crops on hundreds of acres in Sialkot region. The situation has perturbed the local wheat growers who remained unable to save their crop.

The situation was alarming for growers who were still waiting for the early announcement of wheat procurement by the Punjab government.

The growers said that the delayed wheat procurement was also adding to their woes. They said that the rain was harmful to their wheat crop on hundreds of the acres in Sialkot region and its surrounding areas. They said that the MET office had forecast the weather will persist for the next couple of days.

They said, "We are unable to make urgent arrangements to shift wheat yield from the fields to the safer places to save the yield from the rain." They added that the nasty situation could be resulted in largescale damage to the wheat yield besides creating great financial loss to the growers.

Meanwhile, the Food Department started collecting applications from the growers for providing them with gunny bags at official wheat procurement centres established in Sialkot district.

According to the local officials of the food department, the Punjab government will provide 10 gunny bags per acre to each wheat grower.

The officials added that the Punjab government had fixed official target of purchasing 4,320,000 bags of wheat.

The officials added that the Punjab government would provide gunny bags till April 25. The food department officials added that 2,900,000 bags of wheat worth Rs9.43 billion procured last season are already stored in 345 official and private godowns in the region due to which the food department was delaying the procurement.

The officials said that the last season's wheat was to be sold out till April 15 by the food department to the local flour mills.

Workshop on SEMPs held

An awareness workshop was organised on Smart Environmental Management Practices (SEMPs) for Sialkot-based leather manufacturing SMEs under International Labour and Environmental Standards project.

It was held at the auditorium of Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA).

Addressing the participants, WWF Pakistan experts highlighted the importance of ILES in Sialkot's leather industry and objectives of the workshop including enhancing the profitability and capability of leather manufacturing process and products by the efficient use of resources with the implementation of Smart Environmental Management Practices (SEMPs).

The WWF Pakistan organised experts pledged to provide support to the SMEs, enabling them to get easy access to the international trade markets and to enhance their leather exports from Sialkot through their direly needed capacity building.