Often affected by droughts, 8 Marathwada districts facing agrarian crisis due to floods

Eight districts of central Maharashtra (Marathwada), known for frequent droughts, have been battling with the agrarian crisis due to huge losses of crops in three floods in the ongoing monsoon season.
Crops on as much as 2.6 million hectares have sustained damage since the outset of monsoon on June 1, while the recent flooding early this week is expected to increase the figures further as the spot assessment of the losses are still underway. (HT FILE PHOTO)
Crops on as much as 2.6 million hectares have sustained damage since the outset of monsoon on June 1, while the recent flooding early this week is expected to increase the figures further as the spot assessment of the losses are still underway. (HT FILE PHOTO)
Published on Sep 30, 2021 11:02 PM IST
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By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai

Eight districts of central Maharashtra (Marathwada), known for frequent droughts, have been battling with the agrarian crisis due to huge losses of crops in three floods in the ongoing monsoon season. Crops on as much as 2.6 million hectares have sustained damage since the outset of monsoon on June 1, while the recent flooding early this week is expected to increase the figures further as the spot assessment of the losses are still underway.

All the eight districts of the central Maharashtra witnessed heavy rainfall resulted out of the remnants of cyclone Gulab since Monday. More than 1.1 mn hectares under cultivation of the agricultural crops has damaged in the downpour, while the consolidated figure of the affected areas since June 1 has touched 25.98 million hectares. 3.56 lakh farmers have been affected in the three floods reported in the region, according to the figures by the divisional commissioner of Aurangbad.

The divisional administration has estimated the compensation towards the losses to the crops, roads, government buildings, lives and livestock etc to be worth 2254 crore. Of it, 1796 crore needs to be disbursed towards the losses of the crops. The region has reported 22 deaths, 12 of which are reported this week.

“We have​ started conducting spot assessments in the areas affected this week. Though discharge from some of the rivers is still on, water has receded from flooded areas. Rainfall has stopped. People who were evacuated to safer places have started going back to their homes. The officials are still finding it difficult to reach to the farms because of the water logging and mud filled farms. The estimated losses are expected to go up once the assessment is completed. Central Maharashtra has witnessed highest losses than other parts this monsoon as it was hit in all the three downpours since June,” said a senior official from divisional commissionerate, Aurangabad.

Three teams of NDRF and a chopper bound rescue team of Air Force rescued more than 100 people struck in flooding in Latur, Osmanabad and Aurangbad early this week. The teams have now been withdrawn by the respective agencies. District administrations of the respective districts have opened the gates of large dams including Jayakwadi, Purna have opened to enable the discharge. Most of the large dams in central Maharashtra have overflown. In Nashik too, discharge of water from Gangakhed and Girna dams has been increased.

According to the report from the disaster management unit of the state government, three more deaths (one each in Nashik, Jalgaon and Buldhana) were reported in last 24 hours. The death toll due to the rains related incidents this monsoon across the state has touched 439, while six people are still missing.

Opposition and elected representatives from central Maharashtra have demanded to announced the wet drought in affected districts. Relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that the decision over the demand will be taken in the state cabinet next week once the figures of the losses are submitted to the state government.

Meanwhile, the central team of officials is visiting parts of state affected in the flooding in July from October 3. The team will visit parts of Konkan and Western Maharashtra for three days to assess the losses due to the flooding in third week of July.

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Thursday, October 28, 2021