Rice bowl of K'taka in soup

25,000 hectare of paddy destroyed; loss estimated at Rs 100 crore

A farmer shows the paddy crop which was destroyed in the floods at Burdipad village in Raichur on Wednesday. Most of  crops on the banks of the River Krishna were ready for harvest when the floods began. DH Photo/Anand Bakshi

Reddy and his brothers have lost fully-grown paddy in 30 acres. He puts the estimated loss at Rs 55,000 per acre, which amounts to Rs 16.5 lakh totally.

Raichur is one of the highest paddy growing districts in the State. It has also earned the tag of Rice Bowl of Karnataka for  growing top class rice. Sona masuri, IR - 64, bapatla sona and more varieties of rice, grown in the district, have great demand across the country.

Paddy is the major crop in the villages located on the banks of Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers. Burdipadu, located on the banks of river Krishna, is one such village, where villagers had cultivated paddy in 800 acres. Of that, fully grown paddy in 500 acres is washed away as per the initial estimate.

Dharma Reddy said he had preferred to cultivate nallur sona and bapatla sona this year. "I invested about Rs 25,000 per acre. The crop was fully grown. I was about to harvest it when this happened,” he said.

Paddy fields on the banks of the river are worst hit. Farmers of Aalkur, Kuruvapura are also facing huge loss.

Rice price

Constant increase in the price of rice at the national level for the last few months prompted farmers here to invest liberally on paddy fields.They expected huge profit this time. Dharma Reddy and his brothers had taken loan by pledging gold in a bank to purchase fertilisers. They expected at least Rs 1,000 per a bag.

According to statistics available with the Agriculture department farmers of the district cultivated paddy in about 82,000 hectare this year. Assistant Director, Agriculture Department S M Patil said as per the initial estimates the paddy grown in 25,000 acres was affected in the floods. “Even if the production in one hectare is put at 50 quintal the total loss will be around Rs 100 crore in the district,” he said.

Patil added that the total loss would be much more. The actual estimation could be worked out only after a detailed survey. The official opined that the sudden dip in production would also contribute to price rise in the coming days.

Compensation

Farmers are demanding substantial compensation packages from the government. The compensation should at least meet the expenses they will incur for their next cultivation. For that they should give at least Rs 20,000 per acre.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha vice president Chamarasa Mali Patil, who travelled to the flood-hit areas, said: “The loss due to the destruction of crops will amount to a few hundred crores of rupees. So, the administration should compensate in tune to the loss suffered by the farmers.”

In TB project area, paddy is cultivated in about 10 lakh acres. Of this 6 lakh acres is in Raichur and Koppal districts and the rest in Bellary, according former MLA Boseraj.

DH News Service

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