31 December 2010

Central team admits huge crop loss in Nabarangpur

December 31, 2010. The Pioneer, Bhubaneswar. BASANT RATH | Nabarangpur The Central team visited several places in Nabarangpur district to assess the paddy and maize crops damage caused by untimely heavy rain. The team, which reached on Wednesday, held discussions with the officials of the Administration and Agriculture Department here. District Collector Sibabrta Dash said the unseasonal rain during October-December damaged more than 52 per cent of paddy and maize crops. Paddy crop in 55,000 hectares of land out of 1 lakh hectares under cultivation in the district and maize in 33,000 hectares out of 58,000 hectares were damaged, he said. Deputy Director of Agriculture Bimbadhar Sahu submitted a detailed report of the survey conducted by his department that said that in the gross cropped area in the district 2,30,791 hectares there are 58,860 marginal farmers, 98,100 small farmers, and 29,430 large farmers while there are 9,810 landless farmers. Later, hundreds of farmers headed by Municipal chairman Prahalad Tripathy, Jayadev Parida, and former Umerkote MLA Dharmu Gand submitted separate memorandums to the four-member Central team led by Director, Crop Division, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation MC Diwakar. The farmers demanded that the Government purchase all types of paddies from them at the minimum support price. Since whatever paddy that they have been able to harvest after the rains is not expected to fulfil the fair average quality (FAQ) norms fixed by the Government, they demanded that the paddy procurement norms be relaxed to prevent farmers’ suicide in the coming days. The Central team is making assessment to consider the demand of the State Government for Central assistance to provide relief to the peasants. The Centre has already released `400 crore and `600 crore for the farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, respectively, who are also affected due to unseasonal rains. On Thursday, the team visited villages of Gela Dadbaguda, Turinjiaguda, Sindhiguda, Kangara under Nandahandi block, Farmers at many places waited for the team with decomposed harvested paddy and maize in hand. They urged the team to make arrangements so that they can get relief for their losses at the earliest. Speaking to reporters during the visit, Diwaker and other team members admitted that it is evident that there has been heavy crop loss. They said the team would apprise the Centre of the situation so that farmers could get proper relief. Though the State Government has announced a `900-crore package for the farmers, the farmers’ organisations across the State are not satisfied with it and no relief has been distributed to the farmers till date.