Cyclone ‘Phailin’ has dealt a severe blow to farmers in Srikakulam district, one of the most backward in the country, causing an estimated crop loss of Rs. 500 crore. Standing crop in more than one lakh acres was damaged but the official figure is only 25,000 acres.

Dejected farmers of Uddanam region -- that includes Kaviti, Kanchili, Sompeta, Ithcapuram mandals -- feel that they will be forced to migrate.

Villagers allege the officials did not take the damage seriously as there was not much human loss in the tragedy. They say the administration responds quickly only when deaths occur during natural calamities. The officials and staff who took precautionary measures during the cyclone left the affected areas immediately to participate in the Samaikyandhra movement, they alleged.

According to them, coconut farmers are the worst hit. Around 18,000 acres of crops out of 30,000 in Uddanam region got damaged. Each acre consists of around 60 trees and the villagers put the loss at Rs.210 crore. Coconut farmers Seetayya, Rajarao of Kaviti mandal say it will take a minimum of seven years to get returns from coconut plantations.

Compensation demanded

BJP Kisan Morcha national leader Pudi Tirupati Rao sought Rs.1 lakh compensation for each acre of coconut plants.

“The government should announce compensation on acre basis since it will take longer time for the completion of enumeration if tree is taken as the unit. Horticulture farmers need a helping hand at their hour of crisis. At least five years are needed to grow groves,” he added.

Cashew plants got damaged in 30,000 acres. Paddy was affected in 42,000 acres. Teak and bamboo plantations also got damaged heavily in coastal areas.

Many fishermen lost their boats and nets in the natural calamity. Telugu Desam leaders Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu and Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy demanded that that the government come out with a package to restore confidence among farmers.

“Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy should visit the affected areas and announce compensation for all farmers,” they added.