Standing crop spread over one lakh acres in 593 villages across 13 districts of Punjab has been hit after incessant rain between August 17 to 19 triggered flooding in the state. The figure is likely to rise, said the Punjab Agriculture Department, while giving out these initial survey estimates.
A filed survey of the three-day rain, which led to the floods in Sutlej and local rivers, has revealed damage to crops like like paddy, basmati, maize, cotton and vegetables.
The survey report said that till August 20 there were 561 villages in 13 districts where 70,000 acres got submerged, out of which crop on 10,000 acres got damaged completely.
On Wednesday, 32 more villages were inundated in Kapurthala due to big breaches that took place in Bharowana village. In Kapurthala, around 20,000 acres got submerged under water and in Jalandhar the figure is around 40,000 acres as per the initial survey.
Apart from this the crop loss, in crops were also damaged in Ludhiana (12000 acres), Ropar (13,800 acres) and Ferozepur (7091 acres), according to the report.
The 13 districts where crops were hit included Ropar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Ferozepur, Ludhiana and SBS Nagar and Mohali where both rain and floods in Sutlej played havoc, while in other six districts — which included Patiala, Sangrur, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Sangrur and Fateh Garh Sahib — heavy rain did the damage.
“But these figures are just initial and the figure may be quite high compared to this,” said a senior officer in the Agriculture Department, adding that they are waiting for water to recede a little bit to get the actual picture.
Ropar and Jalandhar district are the most affected where around 95 and 70 villages have been hit by the floods, respectively.
According to the survey, district wise fields still submerged are Amritsar — 200 acres, Fatehgarh Sahib — 2762 acres, Mohali — 1700 acres, Patiala — 5300 acres, Nawanshahr — 2200 acres, Sangrur — 1700 acres and Gurdaspur — 700 acres.
The Department has mentioned in the report that major damage has taken place due to the floods not because of the heavy rain.
“State government is getting conducted girdawaris (field surveys) after the water would recede and then the actual picture of crop damage would come in front of us,” said Director Punjab Agriculture, Dr Swatantra Airy, adding that at the moment the report from 561 villages have been prepared.
“We cant see where is our crop in 6-7 feet high water and now god can save it,” said a farmer Jaswant Singh of Kutbewal village in Jalandhar where heavy gush of Sutlej water continued in the fields even on Wednesday, three days after initial flooding.
“We should be compensated for the loss of crops and for household things which all got washed in the floods,” said Baljit Singh, former sarpanch of Giaddarpindi.
Punjab seeks special package of Rs 1,000 crore from Centre
A day after pegging state’s loss due to floods to the tune of Rs 1700 crore, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday wrote to the Prime Minister seeking a Rs 1000 crore special package to address the losses resulting from the flooding.
The Chief Minister has also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct the concerned authorities to waive off crop loans of banks/financial institutions availed by the affected farmers in the affected villages during the current cropping season.
The flooding in river Sutlej due to the discharge of water from Bhakra Dam, the heaviest since 1958, had caused extensive damage to the standing crops and inundation of residential areas in the villages, the Chief Minister said in a statement, adding that an early estimated suggested the damage to be to the extent of Rs 1700 crore.
Realising the gravity of the situation, the government had declared it a natural calamity in the affected areas, said the Chief Minister, adding that though necessary assistance was given by the Army authorities, the floods in river Sutlej had severely damaged standing crops, houses and other rural and urban infrastructure at many places, especially in the districts of Ropar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Kapurthala covering over 100 villages.
The Chief Minister said he had instructed the concerned officers of the government to prepare the required memorandum for special package for consideration of Centre in due course.
The request from the Chief Minister came amid reports that 326 villages across the state had been adversely impacted, with loss of standing crops on nearly 1.20 lakh acres of area submerged under water. (Express News Service)