Even as 69 per cent of kharif sowing has been completed in Maharashtra, farmers in many districts in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions will have to go for a second and in some places a third round of sowing due to damage caused to the crops by excess rains. According to primary estimates, standing crop on over 8 lakh hectares in the two regions has been damaged. 

The State government is assessing the damage caused by the heavy rains and a final report is likely to be published by the month-end. Cotton and soyabean, the main crops in the two regions, have borne the brunt, and in many villages, the second sowing has been a complete waste because of inundation in fields. 

Sowing has been completed on 36 per cent of the 36.88 lakh hectares under cotton cultivation during kharif, while 36.3 per cent sowing has been completed on the 38. 14 lakh hectares under kharif soyabean.  

Of the 151.33 lakh hectares of kharif area in the State (including sugarcane), sowing has been completed on 105.03 lakh hectares. 

According to the State government’s sowing report, a second round of sowing will be necessary in many places that have witnessed excess rains. Twenty one of the 34 districts in the State have received more than 100 per cent rainfall this monsoon. The majority of these districts are in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. 

Demand to declare wet drought 

Leader of the Opposition, Ajit Pawar, has demanded that the State government declare a wet drought. He came down heavily on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis for not expanding the Cabinet and appointing district guardian ministers, who play an important role in disasters.

Fadnavis, who recently visited some of the rain-affected areas, has asked the district administration to complete the damage assessment as soon as possible. He added that the State government will provide all help to farmers who have lost their crop.