WITH rain refusing to relent in the last two days, Marathwada, which is facing unprecedented flood-like situation, has suffered a massive crop damage. According to initial official estimates, crop worth over Rs 500 crore has been damaged in at least three districts of Latur, Beed and Osmanabad, which had been under a severe grip of drought till recently for the fourth consecutive year.
In all the three districts, soyabean is the major crop, followed by cotton, tur and moong. In Latur, crop on over 4 lakh hectares — sowing had been done on over 6 lakh hectares — has been damaged. “Soyabean crop has suffered complete damage on 4 lakh hectares,” said an agriculture official in Latur. Officials in the department put the loss at over Rs 300 crore. Manjara dam, the lifeline of Latur that had hit rock-bottom, is now 100 per cent full. All major rivers in the district are overflowing at present.
Nana Barde, a farmer and sarpanch of Masurdi village in Ausa taluka that was among the worst affected by drought in Latur, said, “Over 400 farmer families, which had sown soyabean, tur, urad, til on 1,000 hectares of land have lost all the crop… For four years, we had severe drought and now this tragedy.”
Beed District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said soyabean crop on 2 lakh hectares had been damaged. “Our initial
estimation is that the crop worth around Rs 200 crore must have been damaged. But it is difficult to give out the
exact figure,” said Ram.
For the last couple of days, the officials claimed, the district administration had been busy rescuing people trapped in flood waters. “Scores of villagers, especially those living close to rivers, have been rescued in the last couple of days,” said Ram.
Osmanabad district seems to be worst affected in Marathwada. District Collector Prashant Narnaware said his administration had been hard-pressed to bring the situation under control as all major dams were overflowing and rivers were in spate. According to initial estimates, Narnaware said, crop spread over close to 3 lakh hectares had been damaged. Sowing had been done on 3.5 lakh hectares. “But these are initial estimates… We estimate that the loss could be up to Rs 250 crore,” he said.
Nanded Collector Suresh Kakani said crop loss in the district had been reported along the overflowing rivers. “Last night, we rescued 22 people near Limboti dam after there was discharge of water.”
Both Ram and Narnaware said farmers should not worry as their crop had been insured. “We will carry out proper assessment and ensure that each and every farmer gets the insurance benefit,” said Ram. Narnaware said the Kharif crop might have been lost but this rain would benefit the Rabi crop.
After a couple of days’ lull, the rain started pounding Marathwada from Friday. In the last two days, Latur, Beed and Osmanabad have received maximum rainfall.
All three districts, which were once worst hit by drought, have recorded over 100 per cent rainfall so far, with
Beed receiving maximum 125 per cent rain.
In the last 24 hours, Latur has received 69.75 mm rain, followed by Beed (50.64 mm), Osmanabad (41.69 mm), Nanded (32.31 mm), Hingoli (38 mm), and Parbhani (29.9 mm).
Collectively, all eight districts in Marathwada have received annual average rainfall of 107 per cent.