Cyclone Ockhi takes heavy toll on agriculture

By Times Of India on 04 Dec 2017
MADURAI: Paddy crops replanted just a week ago have been damaged beyond reclamation at Puthugramam village near Nagercoil. Atleast 100 acres have been silted heavily after the village tank breached. "Each one has spent at least Rs30,000 per acre till now. Everything was gone within hours," says Mohan, a Puthugramam resident.

If the water body had withheld the rains, it should have been adequate to provide water for irrigation and drinking throughout the year. With a breach in bund, everything was washed away and villagers are worried. "There was lot of hype about de-silting works by government. If they have de-silted the water body religiously, it would have not breached," rued S Parameswaran from Karuppukottai.

According to official estimate, as much as 4,241 hectares of paddy has been affected impacting 11,883 farmers while 485 hectares of coconut crop has been damaged affecting 280 farmers. Similarly 1,273 hectares of banana plantation, 353 hectares of tapioca and 1,326 hectares of rubber crop has been damaged affecting 6,200, 1,760 and 1,350 farmers respectively.

Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam visited affected villages on Sunday and interacted with officials and farmers and studied the damage.

Electricity, which was shut down on November 29 to ensure safety is yet to be restored in most of the district. 2,500 employees of the electricity board deployed from Tirunelveli, Madurai and other districts are engaged in repairing damaged electric poles. As many as 1,500 trees have been estimated to be uprooted in the district and the process of clearing them is underway.