Agri Business

Rain havoc: Massive crop damage feared in 3 Maharashtra districts

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on August 16, 2019 Published on August 16, 2019

Early release of water from dams would have perhaps limited the damage   -  THE HINDU

Sugarcane likely to be worst-hit crop

The torrential rains of the last eight days in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts of western Maharashtra have destroyed many kharif crops as well as sugarcane. Preliminary estimates show that farmland of about 40,000 hectares have been completely flattened in Satara district alone.

These are preliminary estimates and when the surveys by the Revenue Department commence the real extent of crop damage will be known. All the three districts are agriculturally prosperous with large acreages under soyabean, groundnut, jowar, rice and sugarcane.

Chairman of the Maharashtra Agriculture Price Commission, Pasha Patel, told BuisnessLine that the fields, which had stayed underwater for over a week, were all destroyed. There would be no way of saving the fields, with sugarcane facing the maximum damage, he said.

A Revenue Department official said the districts have traditionally been prosperous due to good soil, access to water from various irrigation projects and good agronomical practices. But when the rains picked up, by August 5, the Koyna, Radhanagari and Warna dams were almost full. When the floods waters peaked on August 6, the water was released in huge quantities. If the water had been released earlier, downstream villages could have been saved, the official said.

The District Administration and Irrigation Department could have taken preventive measures as advisories were being sent from the Centre. If the measured flow of water from the dams had been released in early August, this situation could have been avoided. Now the crops are lost plus a huge amount of silt and mud is covering the fields, which is an additional headache for the farmers, the official added.

New flood control measures

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Thursday that the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people in the State would be done in record time. A ₹6,800-crore relief package has been formulated and it would be implemented on an urgent basis.

Addressing the media at the Secretariat, Fadnavis said that efforts will be made to make the State drought-free by diverting rainwater from Konkan region to North Maharashtra and Marathwada as well as water from Wainganga river to Vidarbha by constructing a large tunnel.

Published on August 16, 2019
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