Cyclone Nisarga: Crops on 8,000 hectares destroyed in Maharashtra

Updated on Jun 05, 2020 02:09 AM IST
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BySurendra P Gangan and Tanushree Venkatraman

Cyclone Nisarga, which battered the coastal Raigad district in Maharashtra on Wednesday, has destroyed crop on 8,000 hectares across the seven districts of Konkan (including Raigad) and Nashik, Jalgaon and Dhule in north Maharashtra, according to primary assessment by the local authorities. Six people died and 16 were injured in the affected areas.

Raigad MP Sunil Tatkare and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader has demanded a special package, pegging the losses at 5,000 crore. A decision on the relief package is expected next week. Usually, farmers get a compensation of 6800 to 18000 per hectare for losses. The compensation for repairs and construction of houses ranges between 6000 and 6 lakh.

Meanwhile, the state has announced an ex-gratia of 4 lakh for the kin of those who lost their lives. The announcement was done after a review meeting of district collectors and divisional commissioners held by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat via video conference on Thursday. Thackeray has asked district officials to submit reports of the extent of damage by Monday.

The CM was told that eight of 15 tehsils in Raigad, especially Shrivardhan, Harihareshwar and Diveagar, have lost connectivity due to power outage as the electricity infrastructure has been destroyed. Close to 500 mobile towers and 10 boats have been damaged, and fish-farming on 12 hectares have been destroyed. “More than one lakh trees have fallen and a lakh housing structures have sustained damage. We have opened up state and national highways that were blocked since Wednesday morning. The district and village roads are still blocked and communication is disrupted due to power cut. Thousands of electricity poles have collapsed. Unless we restore electricity, telecommunication will not be established,” said Padmashree Bainade, resident deputy collector of Raigad.

Thackeray has asked the state administration to restore power supply in Raigad and put more manpower and resources in the district. He has also asked the administration to provide food and water to those affected at the relief centres.

In Ratnagiri, Dapoli and Madangadh have been badly affected with 3,000 trees uprooted, 13 substations shut and 1962 transformers collapsed. Sindhudurg was less affected with 41 homes have sustained partial damages, while no losses to the agricultural crop was reported. Lokesh Chandra, divisional commissioner, Konkan division comprising seven districts, said, “At least 5% of over 1 lakh affected houses in Raigad are fully damaged.” In Nashik, 191 hectares under cultivation has been affected, while 258 houses were damaged. Food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal held a review meeting in Nashik.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) which has been undertaking restoration works in Raigad and Ratnagiri said that work on roads between Alibag and Murud and Roha, Mangaon to Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar and Shrivardhan to Diveagar was undertaken. In the process, 478 trees and 78 electric poles were cleared till Thursday evening. “Almost 170km of roads were cleared of obstruction. The seven teams in Raigad will continue the restoration work for the next two-three days. Teams in other district are on stand-by now,” said Anupam Srivastav, NDRF Maharashtra commandant. Energy minister Nitin Raut visited the areas on Thursday. Thorat praised the authorities for prompt action.

According to the divisional commissioner of Nashik, the damage was comparatively less in Jalgaon district. “While cyclones are a common occurrence in the east coast, it has happened along the west coast after several decades,” Thackeray told the state administration.

The state received close to 72.5mm average rainfall on Wednesday, with the maximum in Jalna (152mm). In Thane district, 162 kutcha houses were damaged and 360 branches fell, collector Rajesh Narvekar said. In all, 75,191 citizens staying close to the coast were evacuated. In Palghar, two houses were fully damaged while 24 were partially damaged; 16 trees got uprooted and 24 electricity poles collapsed. Kailash Shinde, Palghar district collector, said there was no damage to communication lines. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded immediate relief for farmers and fishermen.

CM to visit Raigad today

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will visit Raigad on Friday afternoon to review the situation and take stock of the damages caused by Cyclone Nisarga. He will visit a few villages near Alibag and hold meetings with officials and elected representatives. State ministers Aaditya Thackeray and Aslam Shaikh, Raigad MP Sunil Tatkare and other leaders will accompany him, said officials from CMO.

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