Preliminary reports put crop loss in 87,000 ha

As per a preliminary report prepared by the Agriculture Department, crops in an extent of 87,000 hectares have been affected due to heavy rain in the last few days in East Godavari district. Paddy is the worst-affected crop. Farmers in the Konaseema area have suffered huge loss as standing crops have been under water for last four days.

Some 40-45 per cent of the 5.60 lakh acres of standing crops in the district is damaged completely. Tenant farmers numbering over 2 lakhs in the district have cultivated crops in an extent of some 4 lakh acres during kharif.

“It is only a preliminary report. The extent of loss may increase after ground-level staff visit the fields and estimate the actual loss,” says Atmaramulu, Joint Director, Agriculture Department.

Rain batters Chittoor

Three days of incessant rain played havoc in the border district of Chittoor under the influence of the low pressure in Bay of Bengal.

The vigorous Northeast monsoon inundated low-lying areas. Reservoirs and irrigation tanks, especially in the southern parts of the district, received good inflows. Rain claimed three lives at Adavikothuru near Nagari, 60 km from here, on the AP-Tamil Nadu border. The tragedy took place when their rain-soaked hut collapsed, killing on the spot Rajamma (50) and her two grandchildren while her husband Rajendran escaped with injuries. This takes the death toll in the district to five, with two casualties reported on Tuesday.

Nagari recorded a rainfall of 32.8 mm on Wednesday alone while 44 of the district's 66 mandals besides its six municipalities recorded a heavy rainfall during the last three days, especially on Wednesday when the downpour was very heavy.

The hill station of Tirumala received a record rainfall of 70 mm in just one hour in the afternoon. This was in addition to the 26 mm rainfall already recorded for the day. The cloudburst sent storm water swirling into the temple of Lord Venkateswara, besides flooding the cellar compartments in the Vaikuntham Queue Complex where pilgrims wait for their turn to have darshan.

With storm water flooding the temple and the queue complex, eye witness accounts said that pilgrims had to wade through about 2 feet water with their kids either in their arms or over their shoulders while darshan remained reportedly disrupted for nearly 30 minutes. TTD authorities had to press into service fire brigade to pump out water, which reportedly inundated the Padikavali, Vendi Vakili and Sampangi Pradakshinam areas inside the hill temple.

Compensation sought

Paddy crop in eastern parts of Krishna district appeared good and strong, but the water that stagnated for the last few days had already done the damage to the extent that the farmers had resigned to losing 75 per cent of the crop. The rains and the consequential clogged drains have caused extensive damage to paddy in Vuyyuru, Guduru, Machilipatnam, Bantumilli, Pedana, Mudinepalli and Kaikaluru mandals.

The farmers demand that the Government immediately get crop damage assessed in all the affected areas for providing necessary compensation without losing much time. They also wanted crop insurance to be applied in this case.

At S.N. Gollapalem in Pedana area, farmers criticised the “indifference” of the Government to conducting proper repairs to the Sivaganga drain, as this resulted in total damage to the crop in an extent of 3,000 acres while some more crop sustained lesser extent of damage. They said they were not happy with the visit of Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy, who was said to have not promised anything.