Untimely rain, high velocity winds and hailstorms have damaged crops in large parts of Madhya Pradesh over the last fortnight. The exact extent of damage is not known as survey of damage being done by government agencies is still underway but preliminary reports based on feedback from districts and what has been reported in the ongoing budget session of assembly by MLAs, suggests substantial damage.
Farmers, who are already reeling under the impact of a failed Kharif crop owing to drought, have a lot to worry as the present Rabi crop is their only hope.
The first round of rains and hailstorm hit the state between February 26 and 28 affecting the Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Mahakoshal region of Madhya Pradesh. The major crops to be affected include wheat and gram in Seoni and orange in Chhindwara.
Even as the survey ordered by the government had not been concluded, many parts of the state were lashed with heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds on March 6 again. Districts in Bundelkhand including Panna and Chatarpur and Rewa and Satna in Baghelkhand were most affected in this round.
In the latest round of bad weather than began on March 12, districts in the Chambal and Gwalior divisions, including Bhind, Morena, Gwalior, Guna and Ashok Nagar witnessed hail storm that led to damage to the about to be harvested mustard crop. Chatarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna and Sagar districts that are part of the Bundelkhand region and had been reeling under massive drought also witnessed rain and hail on Saturday. Besides these, Raisen, Vidisha, Hoshangabad and Sehore districts also witnessed rain and sporadic instances of hail.
Farmers held a chakkajam on NH 86 near Banda on the Sagar-Chatarpur road to draw the attention of the administration towards damage to crops. A tractor trolley full of hail was brought to the office of the SDM, Banda in Sagar district by farmers.
MP assembly discusses damage to crops
The MP Vidhan Sabha on Monday discussed a call attention motion on damage to crops due to hail for close to 3 hours, a record in terms of length of time allocated to a call attention motion. More than 50 MLAs participated in the discussion.
“High velocity winds lead to lodging of the wheat crop which would eventually lead to drop in production as the grain shrivels. Rain on about to be harvested crops adversely affects quality of grain thereby bringing down the price. Hailstorms are the most dangerous for farmers because in case they break the stalk they lead to complete loss of grain,” said agricultural expert, Dr GS Kaushal.
“The most damage has been reported in districts of Rewa and Sagar divisions in the latest round of rain accompanied by hail in some cases. Teams comprising of revenue, agriculture department staff with a representative of the panchayat have started survey work to assess damage,” said director, agriculture, Mohan Lal Meena.
“Almost 80% of our wheat crop on 40 acres of land that was almost ready for harvesting has been destroyed due to hail. The previous kharif crop had failed too,” said Kalyan Singh, a farmer of Maunpur village in Banda tehsil of Sagar district.