Relative humidity is generally high in the mornings, exceeding 70 per cent except during the summer season when it is less than 50 per cent. The humidity is comparatively less in the afternoons. The driest part of the year is the summer season when the relative humidity in the afternoons is about 25 per cent or less.
Winds are generally light with some strengthening in the summer and early part of the monsoon season. In the post-monsoon and cold season, winds are light and variable in direction in the morning and mostly from the west or north-west in the afternoons. In April and May, winds are mainly from direction between north-west and north-east in the mornings and between west and north-east in the afternoons. By June, easterlies and south –easterlies also blow and in the south-west monsoon season. winds are more commonly from directions between north-east and south-east.
Special weather phenomena
Western disturbances affect the weather over the district during the cold season, causing widespread rain and gusty winds. Dust-storms and thunderstorms occur in the summer season. Occasional fog occurs in the cold season.
2.6 LAND HOLDING PATTERN Cropping Pattern
Rice-wheat is the major crop rotation followed in the district. Other crops like maize, barley, gram, mustard, cotton, etc. occupy negligible area as compared to wheat and rice. Besides agriculture, the area has a good potential for horticultural crops like grapes, pear, peach, guava, kinnow and ber.
LAND USE/LAND COVER MAPPING USING SATELLITE DATA Multi-date satellite imageries of IRS-P6 LISS III acquired in February- March, 2004; June, 2004 and September, 2004 were used for land use mapping. The IRS P6, FCC on 1:50,000 scale, generated from Green, Red and NIR bands were visually interpreted to delineate various land use/ land cover categories. A field survey was carried out to check the validity of various land use classes and sub classes. Necessary corrections were incorporated after ground truth verification. Final land use/land cover map for the district was prepared (Map 8). Land use/ land cover classes were digitized using Arc-Info GIS package and area under various land use classes computed (Table 8). The detailed discussion of each category is as follows:
The built-up land includes residential, industrial, commercial, public, road network etc. but with the 23.5 meter resolution data of IRS-P6 LISS III sensor it is not possible to segregate them. Therefore the present study was limited to the identification of urban and rural built-up areas. The total area under built-up land in the district was 22598.19 ha which is 8.44 per cent of TGA of the district (Table 8). There is 10848.46 ha area under built-up and 433.15 ha area under industrial built-up in the district which is 4.05 and 0.16 per cent of the TGA of the district respectively. The rural built-up area in the district in 11316.58 ha (4.23 % of TGA of district).
The Urban (Towns/Cities) and Industrial built-up area is mainly concentrated in Verka bock of the district comprising the city of Amritsar and industrial establishments in and around the city. Block wise analysis of the data shows that Verka block has maximum built-up area (11203.6 ha, 26.28 % of the TGA of Block) including urban, industrial and rural built-up whereas Ajnala block has minimum built-up area (3.35 % of TGA of blocks) closely followed by Choganwan block 3.38 % of TGA.
Verka bock, located centrally in the district has nearly 21.8 per cent area of the block (9298.48 ha) is under urban settlements/district administrative establishments as Amritsar city and Amritsar cantonment fall in this block and 0.74 per cent of the TGA is under industrial establishments. The Rayya block has largest area under rural settlements compared to other blocks which is 2170.36 hectare (6.73% of TGA).
Agricultural Land The study revealed that total double cropped area in the district is 235002.21 ha which is nearly 87.79 per cent of total geographical area (TGA) of the district (Table 10). Rice-wheat is the major crop rotation followed in the district. Apart from these two major crops, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane and maize crops are also grown. Among vegetable crops, potato and chillies are also grown. The vegetable crops other than chillies are mainly grown around the city of Amritsar. Nearly 2042.20 hectares area of the district is under agriculture and horticulture plantations. The total land mass under agriculture comprising of crop land and land under plantations is found to be 237044.21 ha which is 88.55 per cent of the TGA of the district. Across the blocks Tarsikka block has the maximum per cent area under agriculture (94.51 % of its TGA) whereas the Verka block has minimum per cent area under agriculture plantations (72.37 % of its TGA). Rayya block of the district has the maximum per cent area under agricultural plantations (1.58% of TGA) whereas the Tarsikka block has the minimum per cent area under agricultural plantations (0.02 % of TGA). Maximum per cent area under horticultural plantations (orchards) was mapped in Harsha Chhina block (0.25% of TGA) whereas there asr no mappable horticultural plantations in Ajnala, Majitha and Tarsikka blocks.
Table 4: Area under different land use/land cover categories in Amritsar district
Figures in parenthesis are the percentage of Total Geographical Area (TGA) of the block/district
Forest cover in the district is very little; only 30.31 ha area which is 0.01 % of the TGA of the district (Table 10) is under this category. This is negligible when compared to 33 per cent required as per National Forest Policy. The forest plantations along roads, railway lines and canals could not be mapped due to coarser data resolution (23.5 m). The Harsha Chinna block has 27.68 hectares area (0.12 % of TGA of the block) followed by 2.63 ha in Verka block under reserved/ protected forests whereas the Ajnala, Choganwan, Jandiala, Majitha, Rayya and Tarsikka blocks have no mappable area under forests. Small acreage under forest plantations emphasizes the need to bring additional area under forest cover. It may be pointed out that area less than 2.25 ha under forest cover or the strip plantations, along the roads, canals etc. could not be mapped on 1:50,000 scale due to mapping limitations.
The total area under wastelands comes to be 2340.45 ha which is nearly 0.87 per cent of the TGA of the district (Table 10). The wastelands include gullied/ravenous land, land with or without scrub, land under mining (Brick Kilns) and salt affected land. The area under these classes is 356.1, 941.29, 733.66 and 309.38 ha respectively which is 0.13, 0.35, 0.27 and 0.12 per cent of the TGA of the district, respectively (Table 10). Across the blocks, Rayya block has the maximum per cent area (1.80% of TGA of the block) whereas Tarsikka block has the minimum per cent area (0.15% of TGA of the block) under wastelands. Verka block of the district with its proximity to the city of Amritsar has 167.76 ha of area under brick kilns and their mining fields and is followed by Ajnala (156.14 ha block). Further, Ajnala block has maximum per cent area under land with/without scrub (351.57 ha, 0.77% of TGA), and salt affected land (96.09 ha, 0.21 % of TGA of block) in comparison to other blocks.
The gullied/ravenous land in the district are found along the river Beas bordering the district Kapurthala in Rayya block only occupying an area of 356.1 ha (1.10% of TGA of block). The wastelands with and without scrub are spread over the entire district. Brick kilns with their mining areas are well distributed in the district. Salt affected land parcels are found in the localized pockets in the entire district but mainly concentrated in Ajnala and Choganwan blocks. During field visit it was observed that small parcels of dunal land (sandy areas) are scattered in Voltoha block of the district, but due to scale limitations the area less than 2.25 ha under this category could not be separately mapped and measured.
The water bodies in the district occupy 3153.12 ha area which is 1.18 per cent of the TGA of the district. Further, 309.95 and 438.41 ha area is under canals and village ponds which is nearly 0.12 and 0.16 per cent of the geographical area of the district. The area under river channels of the two rivers i.e. Ravi and Beas flowing along the district boundary is 2404.76 ha (0.90% of TGA of the district). Across the blocks, Rayya block has the maximum area (689.72 ha) under water bodies which is 2.14% of TGA of this block. The Choganwan block has 89.65 hectares area under village ponds/reservoirs in the block which is closely followed by 88.38 ha in Verka block.
The wetlands in the district occupy 2533.73 ha area which was 0.95 per cent of the TGA of the district. Marshes and swamps are mainly along the Ravi river in Choganwan block of the district. Nearly 1221.95 ha area (3.03 % of TGA of block) of Choganwan block is under wetland which is maximum among other blocks of the district. In Ajnala block 1085.45 ha (2.38 % of TGA of block) is under wetland. In addition, Rayya and Jandiala blocks have 223.25 ha and 3.07 ha area respectively under wetlands.
Amritsar district is an important district for the production of vegetables in the state. Amritsar City serves as good market for vegetables locally produced. In addition to the use of composed, cattle dung and green manures are being increasingly used in the district. The district was the top consumer of chemical fertilizer during 2000-2001 as it alone consumed 133,000 thousand tonnes of chemical fertilizers (NPK).
Land Reclamation, Irrigation and Power Research Institute, Punjab, Amritsar was established in 1924 and was reorganized in 1947. This institute deals with research and design problems relating to irrigation and power projects. Extensive soils, water and ground water surveys form its regular feature. For devising suitable ante – water logging measure, a number of pilot schemes have been taken up by the institute. Besides there are two fruit nurseries in the district namely (1) The Khalsa College Nursery, Amritsar, (2) The Malak Nursery, Court road, Amritsar. These nurseries rendered valuable assistance in the propagation of horticulture in the district
2.7 Demographic Profile And Economic Base
2.7.1 Population: According to 2001 Census total population of District Amritsar is 2152182. Rural population is 1050102 out of which schedule caste population is 358580 .Urban population is 1102080 out of which 229418 is schedule caste population.
Table 5: Blockwise Rural Population