Kendrapara, Nov 7 (LocalWire): Farmers in Kendrapara district have started harvesting immature paddy crops fearing incessant rains coupled with gusty winds after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted heavy rainfall due to the formation of cyclonic storm Bulbul in the Bay of Bengal.
Cyclone Bulbul will not make a landfall at the Odisha coast but veer towards West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Still rainfall is expected in the coastal districts 9 November onwards, said Odisha State Special Relief Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Jena today.
‘It will still take more than two weeks for paddy crops to mature for harvesting but if it rains with high velocity winds, paddy crops will be damaged and we are now in a catch-22 situation,’ said Babaji Rana a farmer from Bharatapur.
Harvested paddy is lying in the fields of many farmers since there is no space to store it indoors and the farmers are afraid that the crops will be damaged if it rains, said Rajanikanta Behera, a farmer from Patkura.
Narayan Sahoo of Marsaghai said, ‘Unseasonal rains and wind will damage our paddy crops.
I engaged six workers to harvest the paddy from my two acres of land from Wednesday and also engaged my wife, daughters and daughters-in-law due to shortage of labourers.
The officials have advised us to store the paddy in the godown. But where can I store such a large amount?’
The unseasonal rains due to low pressure in the Bay of Bengal will dash the hopes of farmers who were expecting a bumper paddy black gram (Biri) crops.
The black gram crops are in the harvesting stage and next week is very crucial, said Jagannath Das, a farmer from Garadapur.
‘Heavy rains can wreak havoc by affecting the quality of grains besides bringing down the production levels as ripe paddy will be flattened due to heavy rainfall.
Farmers need a few more days to harvest the paddy.
However, we advised them to cut the crops as soon as possible.
We also told them not to leave their harvested crops in the open,’ said Mahesh Prasad Rath, the Chief District Agricultural Officer of Kendrapara.
Tractor and paddy-harvesting machine owners are now minting money due to the demand of these instruments to harvest and shift the crops from the land to safer places.
Many farmers also covered their crops with polythene as there is an acute shortage of workers in agricultural land.
Many farmers also forced women to harvest paddy, Farmers are facing hard times because of the government’s indifference and non-implementation of the various beneficiary projects for them, said Umesh Chandra Singh, a farmers’ leader and the president of district unit of Krusaka Sabha.