AFTER TOURING Vantjali, Keshod, Mangro and Maliya talukas of Junagadh district, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Paresh Dhanani on Friday said groundnut and soybean crops have failed due to excessive rainfall and demanded that farmers be compensated at the earliest.
During his day-long trip, Dhanani visited Tinmas village of Vanthali taluka, Bamnasa, Sarod, Akhodad and Balagam village of Keshod taluka, Osa Ghed village of Mangrol taluka and Gadu village of Maliya Hatina taluka and met farmers on their fields.
After his visit, the Congress leader said that farmers in these talukas have suffered 100 per cent loss of groundnut and soyabean crops. “Fields are still submerged in water due to excessive rainfall in the month of August. Not a pod has grown in groundnut and soyabean crops. Not only that, due to the prolonged waterlogging, farmers will not be able to harvest the crop’s foliage which is fodder for their cattle,” Dhanani told The Indian Express over phone.
He added that due to the inundation, farmers will not be able to recover even input costs. “Till early August, farmers were hoping to have a bumper harvest of eight quintals of groundnut per bigha (6.25 bigha make a hectare). However, now prospect is that they will not be able to recover even the Rs 5,000 they spent on seeds, fertilisers etc,” he said.
Due to excessive rainfall in all the 11 districts of Saurashtra and Kutch, standing crops like groundnut and cotton have suffered damages. While the government has ordered a survey to assess damage, Congress leaders like Paresh Dhanani and Arjun Modhwadia have launched a farmers’ outreach programme. With local body election in two months time, the party apparently wants to be seen raising issues of farmers in agrarian Saurashtra.
Dhanani demanded that the state government compensate farmers against the crop loss.
According to the data of the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Junagadh has recorded 162.80 per cent rainfall so far this monsoon, leading to high levels of flooding in 51 villages of Ghed spread across Manavadar, Keshod and Mangrol talukas of Junagadh district.
Praveen Chaudhary, district development officer (DDO) of Junagadh, said the district panchayat has already started a survey to assess crop loss due to excessive rainfall in the district. “We issued the orders for survey on Thursday and it will be completed in the next 10 days to assess crop loss and compensate farmer accordingly under the state disaster relief fund (SDRF). However, 51 villages of Ghed are still submerged… Therefore, the survey teams will make presumptive assessments in these areas. According to primary observations, groundnut crop has suffered damages in the district,” said Chaudhary.
The DDO said that Ghed being a delta, it is prone to flooding. “…until recent years, farmers did not use to sow Kharif crops. However, now they are sowing groundnut in Kharif also,” said the officer.
But Dhanani said that does not change to fact that farmers have lost crops. “No farmer would be fool enough to incur expenditure of Rs 5,000 per bigha if he knew that he would have no harvest…”
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