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Ramakanta Biswas

Balasore: Despite the onset of southwest monsoon, deficit rainfall has delayed the sowing of kharif crop in Balasore, Puri, Khurda and some other coastal districts of the State, much to the worry of farmers.

Several hectares of farmland which usually see knee-deep water during this time of the season are now lying dry due to insufficient rainfall. At many places though sowing of crops has been done with lift irrigation facilities, farmers are wary of uncertainty.

The situation is precarious especially in Balasore district where sowing of Kharif crops is done on 1, 97,871 hectares of land. However, the agricultural activities have been badly hampered due to deficit rainfall this year. Farmers fear that if the crops do not get adequate rainfall, they will suffer huge loss.

“Farmers in some places are sowing crops where there is rain, but most of the places are lying dry. If we cannot sow crops, how will we survive. The shutdown has increased our suffering,” said Padmolochan Pradhan, a farmer.

Prasanna Kumar Mohapatra, deputy director of agriculture department said, “Though there is delay, we can expect good crops if the rainfall improves in coming days. I appeal to farmers not to get panic.”

Meanwhile, the low germination of seeds has also compounded the misery of farmers in Soro and Bahanaga block in the district. The farmers alleged that the seeds they purchased from the government stores are not germinating properly.

Prasanna Kumar Das, another farmer, said, “I had purchased two packets of seeds from government and grown paddy on four actress of land. Though I followed the instructions of the government, the seeds did not germinate properly.”

When contacted, Soro agriculture officer Dhirendra Nath Mallick said he did not receive any such complaint.

“None of the farmers have visited our office and filed written complaint regarding germination problem of seeds. Our field-level staff are visiting in the ground and organising meetings every Monday to address the grievances of the farmers.”

As per Regional Meteorological department data, as many as six coastal districts of the State have experienced deficient rainfall between 20 and 59 percent. Puri is the worst-hit district with (-43%) deficit in rainfall followed by Khurda with (-35%).

Similarly, Balasore has recorded 310.6 mm rainfall as on July 17 which is 24% less than the long term average. Cuttack too has witnessed a shortage of 34% deficit rainfall. Odisha has overall recorded 396.7 mm of rainfall which is just 1% more than the long term average normal.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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