Orissa floods hit 400,000 hectares of paddy cropSeptember 23rd, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, Sep 23 (IANS) Over 400,000 hectares of paddy crop have been destroyed by the floods in Orissa where over 70 percent of the population is dependant on agriculture for a living.”I was planning to repay a loan of Rs.20,000 that I had taken from the local bank but now every thing is lost,” Sukru Bhoi, a farmer in western Orissa’s Boudh district, told IANS on phone.
“I do not know how to recover the loss. It is hopeless,” he said.
Arabinda Kumar Padhee, director of the agriculture and food production department, told IANS: “At least 400,000 hectares of crop lands have been submerged in the state.
“The worst-hit are the western districts of Bolangir, Kalahandi and Budah and the coastal districts of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Puri and Bhadrak.”
Floods that began a week ago have taken 29 lives and affected more than four million people in 18 districts of the state, officials said Tuesday.
As the weather was conducive, the government was expecting a bumper kharif paddy crop this year. The state government had distributed about 300,000 quintals of paddy seeds to farmers compared to last year’s 164,000 quintals.
“We had hoped to produce about seven million tonnes of paddy but now I have my doubts,” he said. “The devastation is on and we don’t know how much damage the flood will cause to the crops. The actual figure will emerge after a final assessment,” he said.
Incessant rains that led to flooding in the Mahanadi river and its tributaries have left about 500,000 people marooned - many of whom are still struggling for food and shelter.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded that floods in the state be declared a national calamity and blamed the central government for not lending a helping hand during the crisis.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil Tuesday visited Orissa and made an aerial survey of affected areas.