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