BALASORE :Miserable is the plight of farmers whose standing paddy and vegetable crops have been submerged due to flash flood. Thousands of farmers have been spending sleepless nights worrying over their crop-loss.
Sarbeswar Pradhan of Gopinathpur village is a worried man today. Though his family escaped from flood in river Budhabalanga, the deluge did not spare his four acres of farm land. Standing paddy and vegetable crops in his land have been submerged for the last six days.
“If the floodwater does not recede in a day or two, the labour and money spent to raise the crops would go in waste. Though I planted saplings twice this year, those have been damaged due to accumulation of water. Earlier, the cultivation was delayed due to weak monsoon and now the crops have been damaged due to floods,” rued Pradhan.
Similar is the plight of thousands of farmers in Sadar, Remuna, Basta, Khaira, Bahanaga, Bhogarai, Baliapal, Simulia and Soro blocks of the district which have been affected by the recent flood.
Official sources said paddy crops in nearly 85,076 ha have been submerged in floodwater. Besides paddy and vegetable crops, shrimp farms, fresh water fisheries and fish enclosures have been inundated.
Sources said Agriculture Department authorities are aware of the grim situation and have entrusted the officials to conduct a survey and prepare a report soon.
Deputy Director of Agriculture Gangadhar Pal, who toured a few villages of flood-hit Sadar, Basta and Nilagiri blocks, said there will be at least 40 per cent crop-loss this year.
“The saplings, which were planted in the first phase, are likely to survive. But all the second phase plantations will be damaged. Farmers are becoming victims of natural calamities almost every year,” Pal said.
Agriculture officials said it is difficult to assess the damage now as farm land in several areas are still under water. Field staff have been asked to visit affected areas and complete the survey after the flood water recedes, he added.
This year, the Department had set a target to cultivate crops in 2,50,550 ha of which paddy was to be cultivated in 2,20,830 ha.
However, farmers fear total crop-loss if water does not recede within a day or two. It is unlikely to happen as the sea is violent due to full moon day. “The tender paddy saplings will rot if flood water is not drained out. We have no seed left for another round of cultivation,” said farmer Prasanta Behera.
Meanwhile, the Revenue Minister has asked the district administration to submit a report after assessing the damages incurred during flood. Farmers have demanded financial assistance and waiver of crop loans.
In the recent floods, nearly 1.5 lakh people in 708 villages under 110 gram panchayats and seven Wards have been affected. The death toll due to floods is five.