Rainfall increases woes of cyclone-ravaged farmers in West Bengal

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#Current Affairs, #India, #west bengal, Bengal government came forward

Women farmers work in a paddy field. (Representative image: Reuters)

For months after the saline water from the rivers had gushed into fields in coastal districts of West Bengal due to Cyclone Yaas, farmers are facing another woe – rainfall. The extremely heavy rainfall in July and September has killed all the salt-tolerant paddy crops, leading the farmers towards an uncertain future, reported Hindustan Times.

According to the report, in the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas, farmers feared that farming on plots with salt deposits on the topsoil would not be possible. Then, the Bengal government came forward and provided a new paddy variant that can grow in saline water.

The state government had distributed around 1200 MT of salt-tolerant paddy seeds in three coastal districts – East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas, and North 24 Parganas, as per the report.

“Each farmer was given a kit comprising six kilos of seeds along with seed-treating chemicals. Six varieties of paddy seeds – CSR-10, CSR036, CSR-43, Luna Swarna, Luna Sampad, Lunishree and Dudeshwar were distributed. Luna Swarna was distributed for the first time,” Omkar Singh Meena, secretary of the state agriculture department, was quoted as saying.

However, the heavy downpour in monsoon season killed all the salt-tolerant paddy crops as fields were waterlogged for weeks, said the report citing a farmer.

“I had sowed salt-tolerant paddy in around seven bighas of land. The seeds were provided by the state government. But because of the extremely heavy spells of rain, the crops were lost. It rained so heavily that the fields remained waterlogged for at least two weeks. This was not just once. It happened multiple times this monsoon,” said 48-year-old Abani Mondol, who lives in North 24 Parganas.

In South 24 Parganas as well, the woes of cyclone-ravaged farmers have been increased due to rain. In Gosaba, a block in South 24 Parganas, where paddy is grown in around 6000 hectares, nearly 90 percent of the salt-tolerant crops got damaged, as per the report.

Since the farmers could grow nothing after this, nearly 25 percent of the farmlands in Gosaba have been reported as fallow land, Ritesh Kundu, assistant director of agriculture, Gosaba, told the publication.

After the rain fury damaged the crops, farmers are now lookinh towards government schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna and the state government’s Krishak Bandhu scheme, said the report.

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