Climate Change

UP Dussehra downpour: 10,000% excess rain in 3 districts of state wrecks kharif crop

No initiative has been taken so far in the government and districts regarding the survey for compensation to farmers

 
By Vivek Mishra
Published: Friday 07 October 2022
Photo: CSE
Photo: CSE Photo: CSE

CORRECTION: The story has been updated October 10 to correct Shravasti district’s rainfall figure to 7,267 per cent above normal from 72.67 per cent as was published October 7.

Uttar Pradesh, which was hit by drought till August, has been flooded with water due to sudden heavy rains at a time when the southwest monsoon is well into its retreat. Three districts of India’s largest state recorded 10,000 per cent more rainfall than normal in just 24 hours October 5, 2022.

The sudden torrential rains have wreaked havoc, inundating fields of paddy, sugarcane, maize and banana, which were otherwise craving water.

No government order has been issued by the government for compensating farmers. Lekhpals (or Patwaris), in charge of revenue, are yet to fan out and survey fields to assess damage.

The sub-district magistrates are being informed by the village chiefs, but an estimate of the damage will be possible only after the water recedes from the fields.

Gonda, Pratapgarh, Chitrakoot, Shravasti, Ayodhya, Barabanki and Basti districts recorded an extraordinary amount of rainfall within 24 hours. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning of heavy rains in Uttar Pradesh till October 8.

Shravasti recorded 176.8 millimetres (mm) rainfall against the normal of 2.4 mm, according to the district-wise rainfall data released by the IMD October 6. The district thus recorded 7,267 per cent more rainfall than normal.

Jokhan, a 52-year-old farmer from Patna Khargaura village in Shravasti district, told Down to Earth that he had planted an early-growing variety of paddy on five of his seven bighas of land. One hectare is equal to 3.87 bighas in Uttar Pradesh.

“The paddy was ripe. But this rain has ruined everything,” Jokhan said. He added that he did not even have farm insurance. He would get relief only if the government stepped in.

Pravendra Kumar, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Shravasti told DTE that a government order last year had said a compensation of Rs 4,200-4,800 per hectare would be given for crop loss of more than 33 per cent in a field.

But this time, no such government order has come yet. “The survey work has also not been given the go-ahead by the district magistrate yet. When the magistrate seeks such data, it will be given to him / her,” he added.

Mamta Pandey, the chief of Patna Khargaura village, said there are 283.2 hecatres of farmland in her village, of which paddy is sown on 202 hectares.

The total population of the village is 6,000, of which 98 per cent are farmers and only 10 people have kisan insurance cards. She added that a request had been made to the SDM for the survey as there had been heavy crop loss.

The situation is also bad in Gonda, an area that received 222.8 mm, or 10,000 per cent more rainfall than the normal of 3.4 mm October 6.

Atul Kumar Singh, a 71-year-old farmer from Ferozepur village in Mankapur, Gonda, said he had never experienced so much rainfall in his entire lifetime.

He said this rain meant that farmers would no longer be able to plant potato and mustard, the crops planted between paddy and wheat. Farming can no longer be done on the strength of wheat alone.

“Not just the weather but the periodic cycle of crops is also shifting. Therefore, farmers will now have to diversify their fields. They will have to venture into the cultivation of vegetables like pointed gourd or banana. Only then can this loss be reduced,” headed.

Bahraich district recorded 75.6 mm rainfall which was 2,061 per cent more than the normal 3.5 mm October 6, 2022.

Anubhav Chaudhary, a farmer from Newada village in Ramgaon, Bahraich, said the sugarcane crop got hit twice in his fields.

The stalks first fell due to heavy September rains on 3.23 hectares of land. He had to spend up to Rs 40,000 to tie them using labour. They have again fallen this time. There is no compensation either.

The state government was planning to declare drought in the entire state before the Dussehra rains.

The Office of the Relief Commissioner of the Revenue Department had submitted a document to Chief Minister Adityanath August 20.

It stated that in 2020, the state had received 520.1 mm of normal rainfall through August 20. In 2021, 504.1 mm rainfall was recorded through August 20, while in 2022, only 284 mm rainfall had been recorded through August 20.

As of August 20, 9.60 million hectares have been sown in Uttar Pradesh. The target for paddy was 5,900,000 hectares. By August 20, 96 per cent ie 5,716,000 hectares of area was sown. Also, there were coarse cereals and pulses.

The drought strategy was being chalked out because of the apprehension that sudden heavy rainfall would damage the crop. In the meeting held August 20, it was also revealed that 95 tehsils of the state did not have rain measuring machines.

The Uttar Pradesh government had also announced the installation of 5 Doppler radars but no action has been taken so far.

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