Hailstorm damages crops in 125 villages in district

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Feb 2018 09:52:27


Staff Reporter,

Guardian Minister directs the district administration and Agriculture Department to conduct preliminary survey of crop damage

Preliminary estimates peg loss of crop in 10,500 hectares in around 20 villages in Katol tehsil

In sharp contradiction to the observations of officials that there was no crop damage due to hailstorm in Eastern Vidarbha, spot visits of Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Guardian Minister of Nagpur district, and other political leaders of different political parties brought out that various crops were damaged in 125 villages.

Bawankule was accompanied by Krupal Tumane, Shiv Sena’s Member of Parliament from Ramtek; Dr Ashish Deshmukh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Katol-Narkhed constituency; Dr Rajiv Potdar, BJP District President; Ukesh Chauhan, Chairman of Finance Committee of Zilla Parishad (ZP) and others. Sachin Kurve, District Collector, other officers of Revenue Department and Agriculture Department also accompanied Bawankule during his inspection visit to various villages in Nagpur district. It came out that in Nagpur district alone, different crops including orange, banana, wheat, gram, etc were severely battered by hailstorm that lashed the district on Sunday and Monday.

As per the initial information, the loss of crop is estimated to be in 10,500 hectares in 20 villages in Katol tehsil. This includes loss of orange crop in over 1,000 hectares and other fruit crops in 1,500 hectares. The rest is loss of wheat, gram, vegetables and other crops.

In village Mohgaon Bhadade, wheat crop in the farm of Suresh Kolhe was battered very severely. The villagers told the Guardian Minister that some of the hailstones were as big as a full-grown orange fruit. Almost in every village, farmers showed the visiting political leaders and officials the lumps of hailstones that were yet to melt despite passage of almost 24 hours. This highlighted the severity of hailstorm and damage caused. In village Sindi Umri, Sawargaon, the leaders and officials saw damaged orange fruits scattered all over the farms.

Many of the orange fruits, though clinging to the trees, had their skin cracked due to hailstorm. In the farm of Kana Vinayak Kolhe, Sarpanch, not a single orange tree was without damage. She pegged the damage at Rs five lakh. In fact, hailstorm had severed even the leaves from many branches of trees, indicating the intensity of the damage. In village Linga, Vinayak Pahokar reported damage to banana crop which he pegged at Rs 3.50 lakh. Subhash Vitthalrao Raut in village Kedarpur reported loss of orange and wheat crops. Rambhau Mankar reported loss of orange crop.

At several places, pomegranate crops also got damaged. In village Agra, apart from battered wheat crop, the visitors saw around 80 electricity poles that were uprooted due to strong wind. In village Zilpa, around 60 cranes died in the hailstorm. In village Ladgaon, Linga, Kedarpur etc farmers Yenurkar and Subhash Raut and many like them lost their orange, mosambi, and pomegranate crops.

At some places, farmers complained to the Guardian Minister that many of them did not get any benefit of crop insurance scheme. Some farmers complained about non-cooperation of HDFC Bank, stated a press release issued by the Guardian Minister’s office. In response, Bawankule said that the Government was committed to extending aid to the affected farmers. He asked the officials concerned to seek explanation from the banks and companies concerned.

The Guardian Minister directed the officials to conduct preliminary survey within 24 hours and get signatures of farmers concerned on the assessment of crop damage. The leave taken by officials and employees of departments concerned should be cancelled to rope them in the task of conducting survey, he said. To farmers, he assured that he would raise the matter of crop damage and aid required in the State Cabinet meeting. At the same time, he appealed to the political leaders not to ‘politicise’ the issue and stand united in support of farmers.

Tumane urged the Government to ask the administration to conduct preliminary survey of crop damage due to hailstorm. He said that unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm had damaged wheat, tur, gram, orange, and cotton crops in Nagpur district. He urged the Government to complete the formalities at the earliest and extend aid to the affected farmers. The Government should immediately announce Rs 30,000 per acre aid to farmers, he added.