"As per available estimates in 2010-11, about 8.81 million hectare, or nearly 5 per cent, of the arable land across the country was affected by various types of natural disasters like flood, cyclonic storms, landslides, cloudbursts and drought, etc up to January 31, 2011," official data said.
Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal have been the worst sufferers. In the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, a large 38.86 per cent of the limited 4.22 lakh hectare of the land suitable for growing crops was affected by natural calamities during the period.
Similarly, in Uttarakhand 32.45 per cent of its 15.47 lakh hectare crop growing land was victim to the nature and in Bihar, which suffers from flood every year, 29.25 per cent of its 66.37 lakh hectare arable land was affected by the natural calamity in that span, the official data added.
West Bengal was also a victim to the nature as 28.56 per cent of its 56.89 lakh hectare land was influenced till January 31, 2011. There was no impact of the natural calamities on the arable land in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Tripura, the data said.
Despite a vast tracts of the arable land being affected by the natural calamities, the net sown area of the country remained largely unchanged at 141 million hectares in 2010-11 due to government's various watershed development programmes for development of degraded land.