State's farm yield down 60%,
loss put at Rs 5,000 cr
Rs 973 crore for fodder production
Rs 3,087 crore to combat damage to kharif crop
Rs 851 crore for animal husbandry
Rs 1,200 for the sugar crop
Rs 570 crore for subsidising wheat, rice, tur, sugar and palm oil production
Rs 802 crore for employment-generation
Rs 400 crore for drinking water supply
Rs 886 crore as calamity relief fund
Rs 7,236 crore as revised special package for suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha
The state government this week conveyed, through a memorandum, to the Centre that its agro yields were set to drop by a drastic 40%, thanks to the scanty rainfall till August 25. This means an estimated loss of Rs 4499.90 crore from crop production, which will affect at least 4.9 crore people. The state has now demanded just over Rs 15,000 crore as financial assistance from the Centre, which includes the Rs 7,263-crore Vidarbha package.
The memorandum says that sowing operations were 99% complete, but because of the continuing dry spell since July 23, 2009, the crops are still in the vegetative growth stage. Of the 355 talukas in the state, 221 talukas in 27 districts have received 50% less rainfall. Because of this â€œthe estimated area of crop damage is 96.77 lakh hectares, out of which 44.28 lakh hectares have suffered more than 50% loss, says the memorandum. The total drought-hit area is owned by over 33 lakh small and marginal farmers.
Although paddy transplantation in the Konkan and western Maharashtra is complete, Vidarbha could complete only 58%, thus reducing the area under pulse cultivation by 26%. In eastern Vidarbha, the memorandum reveals, an area of more than 2.14 lakh hectares has been left unplanted. Due to the dry spell and extreme heat, pests like the semi-looper and tobacco pest emerged with a vengeance, affecting up to 5 lakh hectares of cultivated land in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Wardha and Nagpur districts. The tobacco pest has affected paddy nurseries, causing extensive damage in eastern Vidarbha, says the memorandum. â€œIt is feared that a lot of these areas will remain unsown as there are no prospects of any late-monsoon crops growing satisfactorily.
The memorandum says that commercial crops like soyabean are in serious danger of wilting. The areas under moong and udid cultivation had already come down from 12.94 lakh hectares to 7.62 hectares, and the crop sown had to be uprooted by the farmers since they withered away. Even the next stage of cotton yield appears to be critical. Most of the farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada depend on cotton and soyabean as the main source of livelihood, stated the memorandum, expressing concern over the effect of the drought on these agro-crisis-ridden belts which have seen a large number of farmer suicides in the past.
MAJOR CROPS AFFECTED: Moong, Udad, Groundnut, Soybean, Kharif Jowar, Karla, Sunflower, Paddy, Bajra, Tur and Cotton