Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Gajapati: Hundred of farmers in several panchayats of Mohana block of the district are in distress as thousands of hectares of standing crops have been damaged under the impact of Cyclone Titli.

As per reports, agricultural land in 39 panchayats of Mohana block in Gajapati district have been severely affected under the impact of Cyclone Titli.

Reportedly, maize was cultivated in more than 4,000 hectares in Mohana block of the district this year. But heavy rains under the impact of cyclone Titli have completely damaged the crops.

Meanwhile, farmers alleged that the district administration officials had not yet reached the villages to take stock of the situation and assess the crop damage.

“I worked hard and spent Rs 50,000 on farming. Following the crop loss, neither the district administration officials nor any members of political parties came forward to review the situation and provide any assistance," rued Raibaria Gouda, a farmer of Kamalpur.

Farmers in the area are concerned about repayment of the loans.

“All the crops which I had cultivated in five acres have been damaged. Now I am worried on how to repay the loan which I have taken for agricultural activities,” said another farmer, Fachu Nayak.

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The situation in Govindpur and Denginipadar panchayats of the block is no different as the cyclone Titli has damaged a major portion of maize cultivation here.

“We were initially hopeful of a good harvest this year. But cyclone Titli hit the district and more than 5,000 hectares of farm land were damaged in Mohana block. We are in distress as other crops such as moong and pulses have also been damaged," said a farmer of Govindpur, Umashankar Sahoo.

Sahoo further said, “We demand that the government should assess the damage immediately and provide adequate relief and assistance.”

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On the other hand, Assistant Agriculture officer Kamala Kanta Panigrahi said a six-member committee has been formed to undertake field visit and assess the crop damage.

“Around 4,500 hectares of maize and non-paddy crops have been affected due to heavy rains under the impact of cyclone Titli. A detailed survey and joint verification are underway by the revenue inspector and field staff,” said Panigrahi added.

He further said, “After receiving a report, financial assistance of Rs 6,800 per hectare will be provided to farmers in the rain-affected areas.”