Unlike other days, Inder Singh wakes up early on Thursday to check on his crops, submerged under Yamuna water the previous day, at Mirrakhpur village in Haryana’s Sonipat district.
The 60-year-old farmer threw a studying glance at the field and felt reassured. “The water has receded by four feet. This is a good sign. Yesterday, this higher patch was covered with water,” said Singh, standing in his cauliflower field 200 metres from the swollen river.
But his relief soon gave way to despair. Across the road in a low-lying area, a second patch of his land meant for paddy was partially covered with sediment-heavy water.
“If the water does not withdraw in two days, the crop will be finished,” he said. Singh has taken 50-bigha land on a two-year lease from the gram panchayat to grow vegetables, sugarcane and paddy.
Singh’s apprehension is shared by many farmers in the village who claimed that at least 20-25 fields are flooded, in part or fully. Another farmer, Pradeep Singh (28), has sown paddy in his 60 bighas of land, which is now inundated.
“The water has receded by some feet but my field is still under water,” he said, lugging a bale of cattle feed on his bike. If under water, grown paddy cannot survive more than three days, he said, adding that sugarcane can withstand excess water for longer days.
Rohit Singh (30), a farmer, said: “We are lucky water remained in the field only for a few hours. But we never know when excess water will be released from Hathni Kund Barrage.”
While there are no official figures yet on how many villages are affected, an official from the Sonipat revenue department said crop losses due to flooding will be estimated by Monday: “Our tehsildars and other officials are collecting data on crop losses.”
In the neighbouring district of Baghpat in UP, some fields along the Yamuna are also inundated. District Magistrate Shakuntala Gautam told The Indian Express that crop damage will be assessed once the water recedes.