CUTTACK: The delay in assessing crops damaged by heavy rains caused by Cyclone Jawad has fueled resentment among farmers in Cuttack. Even after 10 days since the rains hit the district, the farmland has yet to dry up, leading to rotting of ripe paddy crops. In the absence of aid, farmers reclaim whatever they can from their land. They alleged that officials from the Ministry of Agriculture had yet to visit the affected areas.
Farmers in the Niali block said the majority of their crops had been damaged and they were trying to salvage what little they could to at least feed their families. Khetrabasi Rout from Nischintkoili said he had cultivated paddy on a three acre plot and got a loan of Rs 40,000 from a cooperative bank for this purpose. But rains from December 3 to 5 overwhelmed his farm just as crops were ready to harvest. He is now worried about repaying the loan.
According to reports, of the 1,33,645 hectares (ha) of land covered by paddy cultivation in the current Kharif season, only 27,000 ha have been harvested. The standing rice fields on 1,06,645 ha were flooded due to the rains.
Chief Agriculture Officer Ramakant Digal said the tehsildars have already conducted a preliminary assessment and submitted the crop damage reports which are being compiled. “After verification of the reports, action will be taken to provide financial assistance to affected farmers in accordance with government standards,” he said. But the farmers said no such assessment had yet been carried out in their respective regions.