Horticulture Department estimated loss incurred in 2011 at Rs. 172 crore

About 22,000 arecanut growers who have applied for compensation for ‘kole roga’ (fruit rot disease) in their plantations in Dakshina Kannada two years ago are still awaiting for it even as the blight has struck again this rainy season, too.

The disease had severely affected areca palms in 2011 but its impact was limited in 2012. This year it is reported to be spreading fast due to heavy rains.

According to a February 15, 2012, report submitted by the Department of Horticulture here to the then Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada and Director of the Horticulture, Bangalore, of the 27,668 hectares of areca crop in the district, the disease hit 15,595 hectares (56 per cent) affecting 21,892 farmers in 2011 rainy season.

The department had estimated the loss at 24,709 tonnes valued at Rs. 172 crore. The report mentioned that its estimation of loss was based on “random enquiry” of growers and information obtained “orally” from them.

The report recommended that those who suffered 50 per cent and above loss per hectare could be given a maximum of Rs. 61,760 as compensation per hectare and those farmers whose loss was below 50 per cent could be given a maximum of Rs. 45,640 as compensation per hectare.

Narayana Bhat, a farmer from Guthigar, said that after assessing the loss due to the blight in his four-acre plantation, he had applied for Rs. 15,000 compensation. He is yet to get it.

B. Sridhara Shetty, Executive President, Dakshina Kannada unit of Karnataka Rajya Ratiha Sangha (Hasiru Sene) near Vitla, said that he had about three acres of arecanut plantation and had sought a compensation of Rs. 65,000.

Kumara Subrahmanya Shastri, State secretary, Karnataka Rajya Ratiha Sangha (Hasiru Sene), from Punacha in Bantwal taluk, said that he has five-acre plantation. He had sought Rs. 30,000 per acre from the government. He, too, is waiting.

No decision yet

Yogesh H.R., Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture, Dakshina Kannada, said that the government was yet to take a decision on compensating the loss of 2011. The department has not received any direction, he said.

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