CUTTACK: The delay in assessment of crops damaged by cyclone Jawad-induced heavy rains has fuelled resentment among farmers of Cuttack. Even after 10 days since rains lashed the district, agricultural lands are yet to dry up as a result of which ripe paddy crops have started rotting. With no help forthcoming, farmers are salvaging whatever they can from their lands. They alleged that officials of the Agriculture department are yet to visit the affected areas.
Farmers of Niali block said a majority of their crops have been damaged and they are trying to recover whatever little they can to at least feed their families. Khetrabasi Rout of Nischintkoili said he had cultivated paddy on three-acre land and availed a loan of Rs 40,000 from a cooperative bank for the purpose. But rains from December 3 to 5 submerged his farm at a time when the crops were ready for harvesting. He is now worried about repaying the loan.
As per reports, of the 1,33,645 hectare (ha) land covered under paddy cultivation during the current Kharif season, crops in only 27,000 ha were harvested. Standing paddy crops on 1,06,645 ha were inundated due to the rains.
In-charge chief agriculture officer Ramakant Digal said tehsildars have already conducted a preliminary assessment and submitted the reports on crop damage which are now being compiled. “After verification of the reports, steps will be taken to extend financial assistance to the affected farmers as per government norms,” he said. But farmers alleged that no such assessment has yet been done in their respective areas.