Cyclone Hudhud dashes hopes of farmers in Odisha

Berhampur, Oct 17: Cyclone Hudhud, which battered Odisha on Sunday, has dashed the hopes of farmers in the state's Ganjam and Gajapati districts to reap a bumper kharif crop.

While standing paddy crops were hit in thousands of hectares in southern Odisha due to untimely rain, other crops such as vegetables, sugarcane, pulses, groundnut and cotton were also damaged.

"After the last year's crop loss due to Phailin, we were hoping for a good harvest this year," said Subash Rout of Chikiti in Ganjam.

"Unless the government extends support to the affected farmers, they will be forced to migrate to other states," he said.

Paddy and non-paddy crops were damaged in 20,000 hectares and 62,500 hectares respectively in Ganjam, Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) Sudarshan Mohanty said.

Paddy and non-paddy areas in the district are 2.23 hectares and 1.38 lakh hectares respectively.

The worst-affected blocks are Rangeilunda, Patrapur, Chhatrapur, Chikiti and Ganjam. "The extent of damage to paddy farming will be known after crop-cutting," the DDA said.

In Gajapati, damage to standing crop was estimated at paddy (27,973 hectares), cotton (13,486 hectares), pulses (11,458 hectares), vegetables (13,268 hectares) and corn (13,166 hectares) official sources said.

Farmer leaders alleged that damage to crops in the two districts is much more than the official estimation.

"While farmers in Ganjam are yet to get compensation for crop loss due to Phailin last year, loss due to Hudhud has added to their plight," said Rabi Rath, convenor of farmer's lobby Chasi Surakshya Abhiyan.

Stating that farmers in the district are not in a position to repay crop loans, farmer leader Brundaban Khatei has urged the government to write off the loans.

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