BARGARH:A 42-year-old farmer Prakash Chandra Sahu of Khuntpali village in Bargarh block had cultivated paddy over nine acres of land during the current rabi season. He has invested `1.8 lakh for cultivation of paddy and was supposed to harvest the crop within a fortnight. However, his plan has been shattered as his entire standing paddy crop got damaged due to unseasonal rain coupled with hailstorm. He was hoping to earn a net profit of `2.2 lakh after selling the paddy.
The plight of farmer Ekadasia Chhatar (45) of Behera village in the same block is not different. He had cultivated watermelon over one acre of land with an investment of about `40,000. But his entire crop has been damaged due to the rain and hailstorm. He had expected to earn a profit of about `60,000, but his plans went awry with the fruits getting rotten making it unfit for sale.
Like Prakash and Ekadasia, hundreds of farmers in several villages under Bargarh, Barpali, Bheden, Bhatli and Bijepur blocks in the district have suffered loss due to the unseasonal rain and hailstorm which hit the blocks on Monday evening. The hailstorm also badly affected non-paddy crops, including vegetables.
As per reports, Bargarh block received 64.4 mm of rainfall followed by Barpali 43 mm, Bheden 33.2 mm, Bhatli 18 mm and Bijepur 10.6 mm rainfall.
On Tuesday, farmers from different affected villages under Bargarh block gheroaed the collectorate here over the demand of immediate disbursement of compensation and crop insurance to the affected farmers. Besides, the affected farmers of Barpali block blocked Bargarh-Balangir road at Barpali for one hour demanding compensation for the crop loss.
Farmers had also blocked Barpali-Sonepur road at Sikirdi in Barpali block over the demand. Similarly, farmers of Bheden block gheraoed tehsil office demanding compensation for the crop loss.After reports of the extensive damage of crop loss were received, Collector Indramani Tripathy immediately directed both revenue and agricultural officials for assessment of damage due to hailstorm.
Deputy Director of Agriculture Dinabandhu Gandhi said the survey to estimate the crop damage has begun. It will take at least seven days to prepare the final report. However, from an eye estimate, it has been found that crop over about 17,614 hectares of land in 211 villages under 55 gram panchayats in five blocks have been affected, he informed.