Special Correspondent

Meeting in Thiruvananthapuram today to discuss the situation

Toll in monsoon-related calamities rises to six

Government to help the distressed farmers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The heavy rain during the past few days has caused substantial losses to crops in several districts of the State.

The damage from the rain and flooding reported on Saturday alone came to Rs.4.23 crore, according to official estimates. Crops in more than 1,200 hectares of land were damaged. The highest loss was in Wayanad district. The losses would go up in the coming days, as paddy worth crores of rupees were under water in Kuttanad.

The toll from monsoon-related calamities rose to six on Sunday with the death of Abdul Khader (72) at Chavakkad in Thrissur district from electric shock upon contact with a snapped electric line. A child is reported missing in Kozhikode district.

The intensity of rain subsided by Sunday afternoon. Thrissur district received the heaviest rainfall during the past 24 hours. Vellanikkara in the district recorded 10 cm of rainfall, while Thrissur town received eight cm of rainfall. Ottappalam in Palakkad district also received heavy rain. Heavy rain was also reported from Karthikappally (8 cm), Kozhikode and Manjeri (7 cm. each) and Thodupuzha and Vythiri (6 cm each).

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) said water from the Kakki and Pamba dams of the Sabarigiri project might be released anytime now. The Sabarigiri reservoir was filling up fast, as most of the generators of the project were not functional because of the ongoing renovation. Release of the water might intensify flooding in Kuttanad.

Official sources said the heavy rain had hit eight districts of the State. About 5,200 people had been affected. Seven houses had been destroyed and 82 houses were damaged.

The rain damaged crops in nearly 8,000 hectares since June this year. The loss is estimated to be of Rs.3,268 crore.

Minister’s visit

Staff Reporter writes from Alappuzha: Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran on Sunday assured immediate help to rain-hit paddy farmers in Kuttanad.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Valluvankadu padasekharam, near Pallathuruthy, here, the Minister said Rs.5.5 crore out of the Rs.8 crore earmarked for monsoon calamities in the State would be set aside for the agriculture sector. The government would immediately take all steps possible to help the distressed farmers, he said.

A meeting of all officials concerned would be convened in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday to discuss the situation. Damage statistics from all districts were being collected for the purpose.

The Minister said though the State government was trying its best to help the farmers, the Union government too had a major role to play in such situation. The State would submit a report to the Centre at the earliest and request for urgent help, he added.