As per preliminary assessment, ‘Nilam’ damages 80 per cent of standing paddy crop

“I don’t know how to react. I can only tell you that I have never seen such a cyclone that damaged standing crop completely,” said Adabala Mallibabu, a tenant farmers from Karapa on the city outskirts on Thursday.

After battering the district badly for four days, Nilam cyclone provided respite a couple of days ago, throwing farmers into a state of shock.

From tilling to weed removal, most of the farmers have put the entire investment, except for the cost cutting, just before the onslaught of the cyclone.

“Going by the field pattern, we expected a very good yield from this crop and felt happy that it would compensate for the last rabi, which we were forced to miss due to delta modernisation works,” he said, adding that he could hardly get any yield from the standing crop.

As per the preliminary assessment made by the Agriculture Department, the cyclone affected 80 per cent of the standing crop of paddy in the district.

“Paddy has been transplanted in 2.25 lakh hectares for kharif, in which standing crop in 1.79 lakh hectares got damaged,” D. Prameela, Joint Director of Agriculture told The Hindu .

She said efforts were on to disburse ex gratia to farmers of paddy, commercial crops, and horticulture at the earliest, besides taking steps to ensure early distribution of crop insurance.

“The government has fixed an ex gratia of Rs. 6,000 per hectare for paddy, which will be given to those farmers whose crop loss is more than 50 per cent. Payments will be made against crop insurance claims of farmers who completed paddy transplantation before August 15,” Ms. Prameela explained.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the norms fixed by the government for payment of ex gratia, general secretary of the A.P. Farmers’ Water Management Committees’ Association Kovvuri Trinadha Reddy demanded that 25 per cent of the insurance amount be released immediately. “Farmers are in dire need of some relief, as hopes of getting any returns from standing crop are bear minimal,” he said.

“I have invested everything on the crop, which is in question now. I don’t know how to run the show in the days to come,” said Mallibabu.

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