Kesinga:While the state is in trouble over heavy rainfall triggered by low atmospheric pressure this season, farmers in Kesinga block are having a different worry: very little rainfall this time, badly affecting their agricultural operations in Kalahandi district.
This is a problem the region has been facing for the past five years. As a result, many have opted out of farming and went outside to work as bonded labourers. They work in brick-kilns in neighbour Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. While many of them are subjected to inhumane torture and made to work under inhuman conditions, many lose their lives due to accidents at work.
Even as the month of June is set to end, there was very little rainfall in the block. Harried farmers are trying to perform different types of ‘rituals’ to appease their rain god.
As per reports, Kesinga block had received only 84.6mm of rainfall in June 2014. It witnessed only 128.3mm rainfall in June 2015, 95mm rain in 2016, and 95.4mm in 2017. In the current year, the block received only 71.8 mm rainfall.
Comprising 26 gram panchayats, the block has around 30,000 hectares of farmlands for cultivation. Out of this, a total of 9,000 hectares is used for paddy cultivation.
However, with no rain, only 400 hectares of land is cultivated this year while the remaining land is ploughed and kept ready as farmers are waiting for rain to arrive so that they could start paddy sowing operations.
Similarly, while 10,000 hectares of land is used for cultivation of cotton every year, farmers have been able to cultivate only 6,000 hectares this year. Another 110 hectares of land is used for maize cultivation while groundnut and other pulses are yet to be cultivated due to lack of rain.
“A total of 150-200mm of rain is required for the start of cultivation during June. However, for the past five years, rainfall is below 100mm. We are facing a lot of problems in cultivation. The block is drought-hit for the last five years,” a farmer said.
Adding to the woes of the farmers, the agriculture department has not supplied saplings to the farmers who alleged irregularities in the supply of seeds and saplings.
When contacted, assistant agriculture officer Tanucharan Naik said steps were being taken to provide seeds to the farmers.