Camera: Dhananjay Sable
The retreating monsoon has hit farmers hard in Maharashtra, as heavy rains have flooded farms, destroying crops worth crores of rupees. Some of the most affected areas include districts in the western and central regions of Maharashtra. Farms in areas like Solapur, Akola district, Osmanabad district, among others, were submerged under water.
Farmer Abhijit Navale was expecting profits of up to Rs 5 lakh from his banana plantation this year, but due to the heavy rains, his farm is now completely submerged.
"“I have 2.25 acres of farm. The rivers have flooded due to excess rains. The banana plantations in my farm are completely submerged in the water. I was expecting profits of at least Rs 4-5 lakhs. The government will help me with Rs 25,000-30,000 but I have a bank loan of 2 lakhs. How will I repay the loan?” " - Abhijit Navale, Farmer
In Vidarbha’s Nagpur division alone, 63 hectares of crops have been destroyed out of the 19 lakh hectares sown. In western Vidarbha, 50,000 hectares of crops were wasted out of the 30 lakh hectares sown this season.
“I was expecting to get Rs 2-3 lakh worth produce this time, but that won't happen. The rains were excessive and that has damaged the crops. I am worried about the Rs 40,000 loan that I have taken from Bank of Maharashtra. How will I repay it? The minimal help that I will get from the government won't suffice. I am worried how I will repay the bank loan and also the money that I have borrowed from others”, said farmer Madhukar Kolhe.
The overflowing Shahpur dam in Akola district, left acres of fields submerged under water. Dinesh Boche lost half an acre of his crops due to the deluge.
"“Due to excess rains, all those who have farms along the river bed have been affected. Flooding in the river has flooded at least half acres of our fields and damaged the crops. The authorities took notice of it, but those farmers were never compensated. The government must look into speedy redressal of these matters.”" - Dinesh Boche, farmer
Already battling the COVID-19 crisis, the floods have left local authorities overwhelmed. “At one point, COVID was also at its peak and because of heavy rains, the surveying the fields was a very difficult job but our machinery have worked it properly and we have assessed the crop losses to about 38,000 hectares of land, this amounts to up to Rs 26 crores worth of crop compensation, which we have asked from the government,” said Akola DM, Jitendra Papalkar.
The Maharashtra government is yet to announce a relief package for affected regions. The compensation will reportedly be announced after spot inspections surveying the damages is completed.
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