NAGPUR: Even as a BJP delegation led byDevendra Fadnavis and leader of opposition in state legislative council Vindod Tawade on Monday met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to apprise him of delay in relief reaching farmers inVidarbha region, there are indications that the main cash crop of cotton may suffer a loss of at least 15%.
State cotton growers cooperative marketing federation chairman N P Hirani told TOI this was initial estimate. “A clear picture may emerge after a fortnight. Excessive rains in most of Vidarbha have damaged cotton crop and many farmers have this year shifted to soyabean. As a combined effect, I will not be surprised if the cotton yield this kharif season is around 23-25 lakh bales. Normally, out of the total 75 lakh bales produced in state, little over 30 lakh come from Vidarbha,” said Hirani.
Meanwhile, Tawade and Fadnavis took up the delay in relief aid reaching farmers in Vidarbha. The two, who had toured the rain-flood affected areas of the region last week, said excessive rains, up to 200% in some places, had devastated crops and property. They impressed on chief minister that the Rs 2000 crore relief package announced earlier would be inadequate. “We have also demanded convening of a special short session of legislature for assessing the situation. The survey work has been slow and it is mostly concentrated on areas adjacent to river and nullah banks. Areas affected by excessive rains have been left unassessed,” said Fadnavis.
They have demanded a blanket relief of Rs 25,000 per farmer in the region for crop loss. The chief minister assured them that adequate aid would be sought from Union government. The BJP has also demanded waiver of crop loans.
Hirani said excessive rains flattened and washed away crops and top soil in many places. Also, more damage was caused as days of cloudy weather did not allow photosynthesis, stunting crop growth. Moreover, looking to poor returns from cotton, this year farmers have preferred soyabean which also has a shorter crop cycle. “The government has fixed Rs 4000 a quintal as support price for cotton but farmer would be able to make some money only if the rates are around Rs 6000,” he said. He was expecting open market rates to prevail over Rs 5000 going by the current international prices around Rs 50,000 a candy.
“Right now rains have stopped for four days but a prolonged dry spell is also not good. Some showers in next few days would be essential for growth of a good crop,” said Hirani.
Source: India Times