Staff Correspondent

158 farmers in 81 villages affected

Two villages in Belthangady taluk suffer highest loss

MANGALORE: Unseasonable rainfall which hit various parts of Dakshina Kannada since March 13, has caused damage to standing crops — paddy and pulses – worth Rs. 5.68 lakh in four taluks in the district, barring Sullia.

Padmaiah Naik, Joint Director, Department of Agriculture, said at the district consultative meeting for banking development here on Wednesday, that the damage caused to coconut and other horticultural crops had not been included in the estimation.

The rain had affected 158 farmers in 81 villages such as Belthangady, Puttur, Bantwal and Mangalore taluks, encompassing an area of 78 hectares, he said. The loss in two villages of Belthangady taluk was the highest at Rs. 1.16 lakh.

He said that Bantwal taluk had recorded 294.4 mm of rainfall since March 16. Belthangady had recorded 247.4 mm of rainfall since March 14, Mangalore 240 mm since March 14, Puttur 201.9 mm since March 15 and Sullia 204.6 mm since March 13. Data collected had been recorded up to March 24, he added.

‘Massive damage’

N.C. Seethamma, project director, Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, said she had personally witnessed large scale damage to arecanut in Naravi and Kuthlur areas in Belthangady taluk. K.P. Sucharitha Shetty, president of the panchayat, said paddy crop in Moodbidri had suffered severe damage owing to water logging, and urged Deputy Commissioner M. Maheshwar Rao to undertake immediate relief measures.

K. Praveenraj Udupa, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, said banks, based on a recent guideline from the Reserve Bank of India, could reschedule loans of farmers and even issue them fresh ones. Farmers who did not have permanent land records could form a joint liability group — where each one served as a guarantor for the other — and approach banks for agricultural loans, he said.

Rescheduling loans

P.D. Ravikumar, lead bank officer from the RBI, said farmers in coastal districts, who had been affected by natural calamity, and whose yield was less than 50 per cent of the expected yield, were eligible to get loans rescheduled. Such farmers were also eligible to avail themselves of new consumption loans and fresh loans, he said. The Deputy Commissioners concerned, however, should certify the extent of damage caused, Mr. Ravikumar added.