After the unseasonal rains lashed the state for two days, the state agriculture department officials said on Tuesday that the damage to the crops could be assessed only after a week or so. However, agricultural experts and farmers said that the unexpected rains had come as a mixed bag, adversely affecting some crops and, at the same time, proving to be beneficial to other crops. The current spell of rains continued to lash Saurashtra and central and south Gujarat regions for the second consecutive day Tuesday.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) vice-chancellor A R Pathak said that the latest rains will be harmful to the early- sown groundnut that were at the uprooting stage now. Rains will also affect some varieties of paddy in south Gujarat that were either at harvesting stage or have been harvested and kept in open barns, he said. All other kharif or rainy season crops were in need of irrigation at this point of time, Pathak said.
He added that the rains had come as a boon to them, particularly in Saurashtra region where the sources of irrigation are scarce and almost all the crops, including cotton and late-sown varieties of groundnut, required at least one more round of irrigation at this stage.
According to Pathak, the rains would also help in recharging the ground water and it would be beneficial for rabi or winter crops that will be sown from November onwards. Farmers in Saurashtra region said the rains over the last two days had caused some damage to the cotton crops, particularly to the early-sown crops. It had also provided the much-needed irrigation to the groundnut crop in the region, they said. Besides cotton, groundnut is the main cash crop of the region.
“My cotton plantation in 10 bigha has tilted due to the rain and attendant winds. Flowers have fallen to the ground. But the rain will also recharge my wells and I shall be able to sow in winter also. Also, castor crop in seven bigha will benefit from this rain,” said Manu Timbadiya, a farmer at Vankia village in Amreli. But groundnut cultivators are happy. “The rains have provided the much-needed irrigation to my groundnut crop which will be ready for harvest in a few weeks. As the monsoon was deficient, we don’t have much irrigation water. But this rain will augment the situation and I shall be able to sow rabi crops also,” said Bhagatsinh Zankat, a farmer of Devgam village in Maliya taluka of Junagadh.
In areas of the region where it didn’t rain much during the monsoon, the unseasonal rains have given some hope. “The well on my field had water to irrigate only groundnut crop. There was no water to irrigate cotton. The rain over the past two days has given one round of irrigation to cotton though the crop has suffered partial damage also,” said Ramesh Jada, a farmer from Dadali village in Vinchhiya taluka of Rajkot district. While Saurashtra region as a whole has so far received almost 90 per cent of its average rainfall, majority of dams do not have much water due to the deficient rainfall this year. While coastal districts are better off, some parts in northern Saurashtra are facing scarcity-like situation.
Dams overflow in Saurashtra
SOME DAMS in Saurashtra registered fresh inflow of water as heavy rains continued to lash parts of the region for the second day on Tuesday, under the influence of cyclonic circulation over Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Lodhikha taluka in Rajkot district recorded 156 mm rain during the day, the highest in Saurashtra. Jamkandorana (68 mm), Kotda Sanagani (53 mm) and Vinchhiya (33 mm) talukas of the district also recorded significant rain.
Heavy rains lashed Junagadh too. Junagadh taluka and city recorded 117 mm rain while Vanthali taluka of the district experienced torrential (122 mm) rain during the day. In neighbouring Porbandar, Kutiyana district also registered 122 mm rain. On the other hand, moderate to rather heavy rain was recorded in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts. Following heavy rain in Junagadh, Willingdon dam, which supplies drinking water to Junagadh city, overflowed during the day.
Fresh inflow was recorded in a few other dams of the region also. “Nyari-I dam has recorded the inflow of 55 million cubic feet of water and its level has risen by about two feet. Similarly, Motisar and Chhaparvadi-I dam are also recording fresh inflow,” officials in the control room of Rajkot irrigation circle said.
Similarly, Shetrunji, the largest dam in Saurashtra, also recorded fresh inflow. “The dam is receiving an inflow of 2,030 cusecs while Khambhda dam in Botad district is receiving inflow of 655 cusecs,” said an officer of Bhavnagar irrigation circle.