Unseasonal rain, hailstorm damage Rabi crops in Maharashtra

By A Draft Correspondent

Ongoing rain and hailstorms have led to crop loss in 38,563 hectare according to Maharashtra's agriculture department. The districts which bore the brunt are Jalgaon (8,966 hectare), Aurangabad (7,568 hectare), Ahmednagar (4,177 hectare), Nashik (4,155 hectare), Sindhudurg (43 hectare), Pune (39 hectare), Palghar (2,017 hectare), Dhule (8,156 hectare), Raigad (225 hectare), Washim (475 hectare), Akola (115 hectare), Buldhana (775 hectare), Wardha (86 hectare) and Solapur (13 hectare).

Warli tribal farmer Madhu Budhar points to a damaged flower of a cashew tree on his farm
With 'panchnamas' underway and the rains refusing to relent the crop loss figure is expected to increase further. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has assured the State Legislative Assembly and Council that his government was committed to addressing the crisis with priority. 

“We have sought a detailed report. ‘Panchanams’ are being prepared. Based on the final data, adequate compensation will be given to farmers,” said the CM while deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis assured compensation will be provided to the farmers.

Palghar Zilla Parishad President Prakash Nikam has demanded compensation for the affected farmers
In Palghar district, the unseasonal showers damaged standing crops and affected mango and cashew orchards said Palghar Zilla Parishad President Prakash Nikam. He has appealed to the District Collector to carry out a 'panchnama' through revenue officials to estimate losses in the next few days and award compensation to affected farmers. Rains accompanied by thunder hit Jawhar, Vikramgad and Mokhada talukas of Palghar district.

The district is home to several tribal communities. In Mokhada tehsil's Botoshi village, a Warli tribal farmer Madhu Budhar was one of the many who suffered losses when the untimely rains destroyed his crop comprising cashew and mango trees. "The flowers of many of these plants were destroyed in the rains which is why the tree won't bear the fruits ... it's a big loss for small farmers like me," says Madhu.

Not too far away, a group of women belonging to the Kokana tribe sell freshly-procured cashew fruits and other fruits and vegetables. They sell a bunch of cashews for Rs 20. The crop damage due to the unseasonal rains has affected their already-meagre revenue as well.

Kokana tribal women selling cashew fruit on the roadside
Speaking to The Draft, Prakash Nikam said he was confident that Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde would ensure compensation to the farmers who had suffered losses owing to the rains and thunderstorms soon.

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