Sirsa, December 3
Ginning industry sources estimate that famers lost Rs2,700 crore in Haryana due to the whitefly attack even as the state government is yet to make public its special girdawari report.
Cotton industry sources maintain more than half of the average 125 lakh quintal cotton crop has been lost to whitefly and given the prevalent price of Rs4,500 per quintal, farmers’ loss this is year is not less than Rs2,700 crore.
Ginners in Haryana are feeling the crunch due to fall in production of this year as almost all units are running at half their capacity.
The state government had recently ordered a special inquiry into the girdawari triggering allegations from the opposition that it was an effort to delay and decrease farmers’ compensation.
The issue was raised by the Opposition in the Assembly after TNS highlighted this issue in these columns on November 30.
State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar had recently accused the government of trying to deny compensation of Rs5,000 crore to the farmers due to regional bias.
He had alleged since the loss due to whitefly to cotton, guar and bajra is predominantly concentrated in Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Bhiawni and Jind districts where people voted against BJP in the last elections, the government was running away from giving compensation.
“There is no scientific method to assess damage caused by whitefly once the crop has already been harvested. Similarly, the yield of cotton also varies from field to field depending on the hybrid, local conditions and other factors. However, the average yield of cotton in Haryana during the past some years has been found to be 21 quintals per hectare,” said Dr Dilip Monga, Station Director of the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Sirsa.
Gurdial Mehta, a progressive farmer from Panjuana village maintained that the average yield this year is hardly 10 to 12 quintals per hectare.
Sushil Mittal, president of the Haryana Cotton Ginners Association, said that given the fact that cotton was grown on 5.8 lakh hectares in Haryana this year, the normal crop yield should have been 120 to 125 lakh quintals.
Even last year, the crop yield was around 125 lakh quintals, he said.
“However, this year barely 20 to 25 lakh quintal cotton has so far been procured so far and inputs from the farmers reveal that the total crop this time is expected to be from 50 to 60 lakh quintals — a loss of 60 to 65 lakh quintals due to whitefly,” he said.