Pradeep Pattanayak

Heavy rainfall has left Odisha farmers in distress. With their hopes of bumper harvest being dashed to the ground, they are now worried about how to repay the loans they took from banks, friends and relatives, and usurers to grow crops. 

In Khordha district, Turintira, Pamphalo, Kurunjipur, Rajas and Somana panchayats under Balipatna block are the worst affected. Since paddy saplings are in knee-deep water, farmers are apprehensive that the saplings would die. 

“Waist-deep floodwater standing in farmlands indicates a bleak prospect of getting anything. The paddy saplings have been under the water,” said a Bagalpur farmer, Debendra Kumar Das.  

The same pictures of crop loss are also emerging from Athagarh area. The backwater of the Mahanadi River and floodwater of the Sapua River have entered Bali Sahi, which is known as the vegetable hub in the Athagarh area. The farmers had grown pointed gourd, lady’s finger, bitter gourd, brinjal, long beans, etc by investing a lot of money. They would have harvested them after two months. But the rains have damaged the crops. 

The situation is no better in riparian villages like Bangerisingha, Biswanathpur and Kandha under Badamba block in Cuttack district. The floodwater of the Mahanadi River has submerged the paddy and vegetable fields, leaving the farmers a distressed lot.   
In Banki, Nilagiri, and Kanas areas of Cuttack, Balasore, and Puri districts respectively, floodwater has damaged the crops grown in hundreds of acres. 

“Had there been no submergence, we would have earned a handsomely. But everything has gone. We have suffered a huge loss,” complained an Athagarh farmer, Ashok Kumar Swain. 

Echoing the same, Badamba farmer, Sanjeeb Kumar Sahu said, “I had grown brinjal, pumpkin, and other vegetables. They would have been ready for harvest after two months. But the rains have put paid to our hope of a bumper harvest.”

Another farmer from Banki area said, “I have taken loans to grow vegetables and paddy crops. But all the crops have now been damaged due to submergence caused by floodwater.”

The affected farmers are now waiting for the government’s announcement of compensation.