Paddy and fish farmers look for State support

“The untimely rain and breaching of Dalimdevi cheruvu has snatched the morsel of food from our mouths,” rue many farmers and fishermen of Jagaram village of this mandal.

The hopes of paddy farmers, who were expecting to take home a bumper harvest by December-end, have been shattered, as heavy rains caused extensive damage to the standing crop.

The situation of fish farmers is no better, as fish have been washed away in the flood due to breaching of the tank.

Abothula Satyam had taken Dalimdevi cheruvu on a two-year lease for Rs.1.80 lakh. He invested Rs. 2 lakh on feed and Rs.1.20 lakh on purchase of fry (small fish) and nets. He introduced the fry into the tank in June this year. The fish had grown in size in the last five months. In all, 20 fish farmers are dependent on this project. “We start harvesting during January, February, and March. Breaching of the tank has resulted in the stock getting washed away into the gedda (stream) and going downstream to ultimately join the Gosthani. The nets have been damaged by the gushing waters. We hoped to make a profit of Rs. 50,000. But now, we ended up in losses,” said Mr. Satyam.

As many as five varieties of fresh water fish are grown in the tank and the stock is sold in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram markets.

Mr. Satyam and a few others were seen making efforts to trap the fish before they flowed into the gedda by putting their nets across the breach. They hope the government would come to their rescue.

The gloom was evident on the face of Valla Appa Rao, a paddy farmer, who lost the crop on his one-acre farm. He has to support his wife and four daughters with the income from the crop. He had invested Rs.6,000 on the crop and the family works on the farm to keep the hearth burning.

He is not alone. Ramba Bangaraiah, Yerra Satyanarayana, Jagarapu Appa Rao, Ramba Avataram ... the list seems endless. All have similar tales to tell. The saving grace is that some of them have grown sugarcane and it didn’t suffer any significant damage.

‘Blessing in disguise’

“There are 600 families in our village. The heavy rain and breaching of the tank has no doubt caused extensive damage. But the breach is a blessing in disguise, as otherwise the overflowing water from the gedda would have submerged the village,” says former sarpanch P. Narasimha Naidu.

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