Crops spread over 8 lakh hectares damaged in flood-hit Andhra


Agriculture department officials said crops were washed away due to breaches in the bunds of irrigation projects like the Annamaya project and the Cheyyer reservoir in Kadapa district…reports Asian Lite News

Heavy rain and floods in four districts of Andhra Pradesh have damaged agriculture and horticulture crops spread over eight lakh hectares, officials said.

According to the preliminary reports from the affected districts, the crop loss is estimated to be around Rs 3,000 crore.

Agriculture Minister K. Kannababu said a detailed crop enumeration will be done once the floods recede.

The district-wise breakup of crop loss was yet to be updated but as per the district-wise information available as on November 21, Kadapa district suffered the maximum. Crops over 1,26,167 hectares were damaged in Kadapa, followed by 90,498 hectares in Anantapur. Nellore and Chittoor districts had suffered crops damage over 12,118 hectares and 9,616 hectares respectively.

Kadapa district also recorded damage to horticulture crops over 17,912 hectares. In Anantapur and Nellore districts, the extent of horticulture crops damaged were 616 and 101 hectares respectively.

Agriculture department officials said crops were washed away due to breaches in the bunds of irrigation projects like the Annamaya project and the Cheyyer reservoir in Kadapa district.

Paddy, sunflower, black gram and cotton crops suffered the maximum damage. The affected farmers said that floods destroyed the crops which were ready for harvesting. They have appealed to the government to come to their rescue.

The dairy industry also suffered a huge blow as hundreds of cattle were washed away. The state government announced that financial assistance of Rs 30,000 will be provided to the farmers in case of the death of a buffalo or a cow and Rs 3,000 in case of a sheep or a goat.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the officials to start crop enumeration and also to supply seeds at 80 per cent subsidy.

The floods triggered by heavy rain under the impact of a depression in the Bay of Bengal left a trail of destruction, claiming 34 lives while another 10 people were missing.

Over 1,300 villages were inundated due to the floods, the worst in recent years. The deluge caused widespread damage to the infrastructure and snapped vital road and rail links in the region.

The state government has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of each deceased.

Eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and as many of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were deployed for rescue and relief operations. Two helicopters were used for rescue operations in 19 places.

The authorities opened 294 relief camps in the flood-affected areas. About 58,000 people were evacuated from the affected areas and shifted to relief camps.

The temple town of Tirupati in Chittoor district was the worst hit by the rain and floods. The ghat roads and walkways to the famous Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala suffered huge damage.

Even four days after the rains, several low-lying areas in Tirupati and its suburbs remained inundated. A similar situation prevailed in several parts of Chittoor and Nellore districts.

The authorities were air-dropping essential commodities in the marooned villages of Chittoor district on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister has directed officials to step up the relief work. He asked them to provide a compensation of Rs 95,100 and sanction a new house to those who lost their homes and Rs 5,200 to those whose houses are partially damaged due to floods.

He said the state government has sanctioned an additional Rs 10 crore each to Kurnool, Chittoor, Anantapur and Kadapa districts totalling to Rs 40 crore for relief measures.

The heavy rain and floods led to breaches in several lakes and tanks, adding to the people’s woes. The natural calamity caused extensive damage to the irrigation system, electricity poles, towers and transmission system and roads.

State, district and rural roads to a total length of about 2,000 km were damaged. As per the initial estimates of the Roads and Buildings department, Rs 800 crore is required for repair of the damaged roads and bridges.

The Chief Minister has directed the officials of Panchayat Raj and Municipal Administration Departments to finalise the tenders for permanent restoration work in the next four weeks.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday visited the flood-affected areas in Kadapa district. The former Chief Minister visited a few villages in Rajampet and Nandluru mandals and interacted with the affected people.

Naidu will visit the flood-hit areas of Chittoor district on Wednesday and of Nellore district on Thursday.

Extensive damage in K’taka

Heavy and unrelenting rains have caused extensive damage to standing and harvested agricultural as well as horticultural crops in Karnataka. The rains have damaged jowar crop in north Karnataka and ragi in southern districts of the state.

Jower is the staple food of north Karnataka, whereas ragi is staple diet of the people of south districts.

Heavy rains in Karnataka since September have caused loss of agricultural crops in five lakh hectares in the state. Horticulture crop loss has been assessed for 30,114 hectares.

In Chikkaballapur district known for horticultural produce, as many as 3,000 hectares of grape yards and other horticultural produce worth an estimated Rs 50 crore have been destroyed. The farmers will now have to wait for another one-and-a-half month to reap fruits and vegetables.

It is estimated that 60,000 hectares of crops including 25,000 hectares of Ragi crop and hundreds of acres of rose farms in Chikkaballapur have been destroyed.

Officers of the agriculture department at all levels were instructed to engage themselves in conducting surveys of crop losses.

It is estimated that crops in 3.43 lakh hectares were affected due to incessant rains in August and September affecting 1.5 lakh farmers. Since, the copious rains continued throughout November, the damage to the farming community is immense.

Rs 130 crore has been released for the farmers so far by the Karnataka government. Compensation for 79,000 farmers is pending and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has instructed for release of Rs 79 crore towards clearing the compensation due to battered farmers.

Officers have been instructed to take action and ensure speedy disbursal of crop loss insurance amount by the insurance companies to farmers. Chief Minister Bommai has also given directions to take up repair work of irrigation tanks on war footing.

According to the government assessment, Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagar, Hassan districts have suffered extensive damages because of rains.

The farmers of south and coastal Karnataka are praying to rain gods, as they could heave a sigh of relief with the areca nut crop if heavy downpour stops.

Farmers have also lost their houses to rains. According to sources, the preliminary report on the damages stated that 658 houses were completely damaged and 8,495 houses were partially damaged. It has also resulted in the death of 191 livestock.

An amount of Rs 689 crore is made available with District Commissioners under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to cater to the immediate needs of rain affected people and regions. Chief Minister Bommai has assured allocation of more funds if necessary. Action for immediate release of Rs 1 lakh as the first instalment of relief for those who lost their houses has been initiated.

Koppal district known as rice bowl of the state saw total destruction of paddy fields. Harvested paddy stored in open fields also perished. The farmers of Karatagi and Gangavathi taluks of the district known for paddy cultivation are now looking to succour from the government.

The farming community is in despair as the crop was destroyed at a time when grain formation of the paddy crop was over and the crop was ready to be harvested.

Wheat, jower, tobacco, Bengal grams and sugarcane were destroyed in Khanapur, Chikkodi, Nippani, Bailhongal regions of Belagavi district.

Chili, onion crops also destroyed by rains in Gadag, Chitradurga and surrounding districts of central Karnataka.

Coffee crop in hilly districts of Kodagu, Chikkamagalur is also damaged.

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