Hail­storm de­stroys crops on 2 lakh hectares of land in two Maha re­gions

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation -

MUM­BAI: Un­sea­sonal rain and hail­storms ru­ined crops in vast swathes of Ma­ha­rash­tra this week, ac­cord­ing to ini­tial govern­ment es­ti­mates that put the dam­age at 2 lakh hectare across 1,800 vil­lages in 16 dis­tricts.

Marath­wada and Vi­darbha were the worst hit by the bad weather that hit on Sun­day and lasted till Tues­day. The state govern­ment on Wed­nes­day urged the Cen­tre to dis­burse ~200 crore to re­im­burse to af­fected farm­ers.

“Max­i­mum dam­age of 1.28 lakh hectares was done on Fe­bru­ary 11, the first of hail­storm and un­sea­sonal rains. On Fe­bru­ary 12, it was around 60,000 hectares. We are still wait­ing for fig­ures from some dis­tricts, as dam­age was also caused on Fe­bru­ary 13,” said Ma­ha­rash­tra agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Pan­durang Fund­kar.

Dam­age fig­ures from around 10 dis­tricts are likely to be re­ceived by Thurs­day evening, other of­fi­cials from the agri­cul­ture de­part­ment said.

The com­pen­sa­tion to farm­ers ranges from ~6,800 per hectare to ~18,000 per hectare de­pend­ing upon the type of farm­land, and will be made from the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Fund.

The com­pen­sa­tion is lim­ited to two hectares.

Last year, an­gry protests from farm­ers forced the Bharatiya Janata Party govern­ment in the state to an­nounce a waiver of their loans. Farm­ers in Marath­wada and Vi­darbha are among the most vul­ner­a­ble since the re­gion of­ten sees a drought.

The most-af­fected dis­tricts in this week’s bad weather were Jalna (Marath­wada), Buld­hana and Am­ra­vati (Vi­darbha), where crop dam­age was cal­cu­lated as 32,000 hectares, 32,700 hectares and 26,598 hectares re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to the pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mates. To give an es­ti­mate, a hectare is a lit­tle smaller than an av­er­age cricket field.

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