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Early flood, lockdown take heavy toll on paddy cultivation


GUWAHATI, June 3 - The rural people of Assam who are the backbone of the State�s economy, have been reeling under relentless misery since the first day of the corona-induced lockdown.

With imposition of the lockdown, most of the rural people have lost their livelihoods. On top of that, the first wave of flood has destroyed their Bodo paddy cultivation in many places.

Explaining the situation, Anil Das from Gobhali village under Chandrapur revenue circle of Kamrup (Metro) district, said, �This time around 180 farmers of my locality cultivated Bodo paddy on nearly 2,000 bighas of land. But we could not collect the paddy from the field in time only because of scarcity of labourers. Ultimately, the floodwater submerged a large area of paddy field and all the grain turned into chaff.�

According to Das, the farmers of his village are dependent on daily wage labourers coming from Nalbari, Mangaldoi, West Bengal and other places during the harvesting season. But this time, no migrant labourer came to their village due to the lockdown.

�This time the loss was huge. Usually, we get around eight quintals of Bodo rice from one bigha of land. One can even get up to 12 quintals from the same area of land by using hybrid seeds. But this time we hardly got four quintals of rice from each bigha,� he said.

Gopindra Biswas, a farmer from Dhipuji area of the same revenue circle, informed that the first wave of flood has affected around 150 farmers of his village.

�This time the flood came quite early. On the other hand, in such a medical emergency situation no farmer wants to take the risk of engaging migrant labourers. Ultimately we suffered huge losses and only a few farmers were able to save their produce,� Biswas said.

He informed that most farmers of his village used to take loans from both private and government agencies for cultivation. �The flood-induced damage will be a big burden on us. Now we have no clue on how to repay the loans,� he lamented.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dipak Bodo, a farmer from Bonda area said that around 80 per cent of his Bodo paddy cultivation was damaged by floodwater.

Meanwhile, the local people of these areas alleged that original and needy farmers of their localities are yet to avail of any benefits of government schemes like the PM-KISHAN. It may be mentioned that recently the Kamrup (Metro) District Committee of AASU had appealed to the State government to provide all necessary help to the affected farmers.

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