Special Correspondent

CHICKBALLAPUR: Nagarajappa, a grape grower, was a happy man a few days ago. For, grapes worth Rs. 3 lakh was ready for harvest at his vineyard at Guvvalakanahalli on the outskirts of Chickballapur. But, the gutsy wind and rains that hit Chickballapur district last week destroyed the entire vineyard and pushed Nagarajappa into a state of despair.

Horticulture farmers in Chickballapur taluk have suffered heavy losses as grapes, papaya, bottle gourd and tomatoes cultivated at Guvvalakanahalli, Mylapanahalli, Kalavara and other villages have been destroyed in the rains caused by the cyclone Laila on Thursday and Friday. It is estimated that crops worth about Rs. 10 lakh, that were ready for harvest, have been destroyed in Chickballapur taluk, where fruits and vegetables are grown in plenty.

Hoping that he would earn a few lakhs this season, Mr. Nagarajappa had finalised his daughter's marriage. With the destruction of the vineyard, he is now finding it difficult to make arrangements for the wedding. Besides, he has no other means to repay a loan of Rs. 2 lakh he had taken from a bank to cultivate grapes, the distraught farmer said.