Double whammy for farmers: After labour shortage due to lockdown, untimely rains cause severe damage to crops
Struggling to cope with labour shortage during the harvest season amidst the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, untimely rain and hailstorm have now added to farmer woes in some districts of Uttar Pradesh as it has caused extensive damage to the crops.
Unseasonal rain and hailstorm that lashed the Balrampur district on Saturday evening has increased the worries of Bhanu Kumar. The farmer's standing wheat crops in Rajneetpur village which couldn't be harvested due to lack of labour amidst the nationwide lockdown has now been completely damaged due to the inclement weather conditions.
Bhanu Kumar said, "Heavy rain and hailstorm has come as a double shocker for us. Fist, we couldn't harvest our wheat crop because the labourers are apparently unavailable due to the fear of coronavirus. Now, most of the crop has been damaged due to heavy rain. The farmers in our village have incurred huge losses."
Another farmer said, "Most of our crop has been damaged and our only source of income has been destroyed due to rain. We appeal the government to help us in this time of crisis."
Meanwhile speaking to India Today, the district authorities have assured that the reeling farmers will be compensated for the damage to their crops.
District agriculture officer, Manjeet Kumar said, "The farmers who have lost their crops due to rain and hailstorm will be provided financial assistance. Compensation will be given to them after assessing the damage."
The farmers in UP's Sant Kabir Nagar district are also hammered by unseasonal rain and hailstorm that took place on Saturday evening.
Rajesh Yadav, a farmer in Kermua village, said, "I am already facing problems in the lockdown and now my wheat crop has been completely damaged due to the rain and hailstorm. It will be difficult to cope up with the loss. Most of the farmers in my village rely on wheat crop for main source of living."
"Vegatable crop of most of the farmers in our village have been damaged. We are now left in the lurch as farmers who have suffered due to untimely rain will now be facing acute financial crisis," said Rajinder, a farmer from Payal Paar village.
Heavy rain and hailstrom also ruined wheat and vegetables stored at government procurement centre in Pilibhit district. The locals and farmers were seen covering the wheat and vegetables which got soaked.
Food distribution officer Avanish Ojha said, "We will take action against those responsible for not making arrangements of protecting the crops and vegetables stored at the procurement centre. Heavy rain and hailstorm have also destroyed standing crops in some villages. We are assessing the damage."