Crops across 2 lakh hectares remain submerged in Maharashtra as floods have overwhelmed many parts of the state. Sugarcane, jowar, rice, onions and other vegetables, as well as orchards of mangoes and grapes have suffered the most damage, said officials of the Agriculture department, which has started surveying the flood-hit areas.
Districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur in western Maharashtra, along with Nashik, Dhule and Jalgaon, have faced the wrath of nature in the last few days, as major rivers in the area breached their banks.
While many flood-hit areas were initially inaccessible, the rainfall has abated and water levels have started going down. As the water recedes, officials are getting a clearer picture of the extent of damage, and they are estimating crop damage in over 2.28 lakh hectares of farmland.
The floods have damaged standing crops of cane, jowar, rice and vegetables in western Maharashtra, and cotton, onion, soyabean and jowar in Nashik, Jalgaon and Dhule.
Mango orchards in Konkan and pomegranate orchards in some parts of western Maharashtra have also been flooded. “The final extent of damage can be ascertained only after a few days, and it is likely to be much worse,” said a senior officer of the Agriculture department.
Reports of livestock drowning in floodwater have emerged from Sangli and Kolhapur, the two worst-hit districts. Officers of the Animal Husbandry commissionerate said surveys are being conducted to ascertain the extent of losses and a clearer picture will emerge soon.
Meanwhile, Gokul — the Kolhapur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union — has started milk collection again in some parts of the district. Director of the union, Vishwas Patil, said Saturday’s collection was around 2 lakh litres, way lower than the normal 10-12 lakh litres the union collects daily.
“Once the water recedes from the roads, our supplies to Mumbai and Pune will start,” he said.
Patil confirmed that there have been cases of farm animals drowning in the floodwater. “In many areas. there was no time to save the cattle as floodwater rose rapidly,” he said.
The union on Saturday arranged for cattle feed to be sent to over 600 animals, which have been taken to the premises of a mill, Sri Gurudutta Sugars Limited, by farmers in Shirol taluka of Kolhapur district.