For the people living in the coastal region of the State, November would be remembered as the month of cyclones. But November 2020 would be remembered for the two successive cyclones that battered the region.
The trail of destruction caused by Cyclone Nivar which made a landfall in Tamil Nadu in the intervening night of November 24 and 25 was severe and, according to preliminary reports, a largescale crop damage was reported from most of the coastal districts. Normal life was thrown off gear in the coastal and Rayalaseema regions. The district administrations have been asked to enumerate the crop loss and submit reports by December as the State government promised that input subsidy would be directly credited to the accounts of farmers by December 31.
Early warnings by the Indian Meteorological Department indicated rain in the last week of November. The low pressure area moved west northwestwards and further concentrated as a depression on November 23 and intensified as a cyclonic storm the next morning and further intensified as a very severe cyclonic storm in the afternoon of November 25.
Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, YSR Kadapa, East Godavari and SPSR Nellore districts bore the brunt of the damage. For farmers it was a double whammy as successive cyclones dashed all hopes of a bountiful harvest. The kharif season began on a bright note after the southwest monsoon kept its date.
As per the preliminary report of the Agriculture Department, crops in a total extent of 6.36 lakh hectares were damaged. Paddy suffered extensive damage, with 3.92 lakh ha completely/partially submerged, Bengal gram in 81,796 ha, red gram in 36,895 ha, black gram in 53,911 ha and cotton in 23,102 ha were damaged.
Prakasam suffered extensive damage with crop loss reported in 1.49 lakh ha, 1.33 lakh ha in Guntur, 1.06 lakh ha in Kadapa, 95,313 ha in Krishna, 38,278 ha in East Godavari and 32,602 ha in SPSR Nellore.
The total extent of horticulture crops damaged is 28,393 ha. Prakasam accounts for 11,176 ha, Guntur (5,444), YSR Kadapa (4,655), Nellore (3,043) Chittoor (1,596), Krishna (584) and East Godavari (773).
The State government got into the act and began enumeration of damages and measures for releasing input subsidy and distribution of subsidised seeds. Teams of revenue and agricultural departments began visiting the affected mandals. In Guntur, Collector I. Samuel Ananda Kumar visited Tenali and Kolluru mandals and had a first-hand view of the damages.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy promised on the floor of the House that loss enumeration was under progress and would be completed by December 10 and input subsidy distribution would be done by December 30. The State government also promised to supply seeds at 80% subsidy to raise nurseries again as and where damage occurred.
Meanwhile, opposition parties also swung into action. TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh visited flood-affected areas in Anantapur district. Jana Sena Party president Pawan Kalyan visited mandals in Krishna and Guntur districts.
An Inter-Ministerial Central Team will soon visit the flood-hit areas in the State for assessing the damage for the purpose of extending financial support.