Friday, March 5

‘Careless govt’: Opposition claims wheat worth crores damaged in rain in MP

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The rain caused by Cyclone Nisarga led to damage of crops in various parts of Madhya Pradesh. The wheat and other crops were procured by the state government.

The Opposition has now attacked the government, accusing it of being “careless”.

The rain came as Madhya Pradesh was already facing the challenge caused by swarms of desert locusts, which remain uncontrolled. However, the downpour brought down temperature in the state considerably low giving a relief to people from rising temperature.

As per meteorological department’s Madhya Pradesh unit, as many as 23 districts received moderate to heavy rains in the past two days with Bhopal, Raisen, Betul, Hoshangabad in central region, Rewa and Satna in Vindya region, Chhatarpur, Sagar and Damoh in Bundelkhand region, Gwalior and Guna in Gwalior region, Jabalpur, Narsinghpur, Chhindwara and Mandla in Mahakoshal region and Khandwa, Khargone, Indore, Dhar, Barwani, Shajapur and Burhanpur in Malwa receiving heavy rains.

The meteorological department has further issued warning for heavy rainfall in 27 districts in the next 24 hours. Rains are still continuing in several parts of the state. In Bhopal, the maximum temperature on Thursday was recorded at 22.6 degree Celsius, as many as 17 degree Celsius low than the normal temperature on the day. In Gwalior, the maximum temperature dropped by about 10 degree Celsius and in Indore and Jabalpur by about 12 and 10 degree Celsius, as per meteorological department.

Joint director of agriculture department at Indore RS Sisodia said, “Rains, though it’s not pre-monsoon showers, will help farmers do cultivation. However, for sowing they need good rains during monsoon.”

Revenue department principal secretary Manish Rastogi said, “There is no report of damage caused to any property due to rains has been reported so far.”

However, as per reports from many districts, wheat stored in the open at procurement centres has got wet. About 15,000 quintal of wheat stored in open in Katni got wet in the past two days. The value of the wheat stored is said to be about Rs 2.81 crore. Similarly, in Rajgarh district too wheat was stored in the open at about 90 per cent of the 84 procurement centres. It got wet due to rains.

State Congress president Kamal Nath accused the state government of showing carelessness in undertaking measures in storing wheat in warehouses.

“Lakhs of metric tonnes of wheat got damaged resulting in loss of crores of rupees. Warning for Nisarga was given earlier but the government overlooked it. Hence, state government is responsible for the damage,” he said.

Farmers welfare and agriculture development minister Kamal Patel said, “The rain is untimely. Procurement centres for wheat was increased to about 4,500 so that people don’t have to travel long distances. Though it was stored in the open, the wheat was well covered with plastic sheets. The same is being stored in warehouses and we are trying to see that least damage is caused to wheat.”

Principal secretary, Food and Civil Supply, Shivshekhar Shukla said, “No damage was reported from any district. The procured food grains was properly covered and secured.”

Desert locusts is another problem farmers in the state continued to grapple with even after a fortnight of swarms of locusts entered Madhya Pradesh from Rajasthan.

As per officials, damage to vegetation was reported from parts of Vindhya, Beundelkhand and Gwalior-Chambal regions on Thursday.

What took the district administration in Satna by surprise on Thursday was swarms of locusts entering Satna city causing a panic among residents.

Deputy director of agriculture at Satna Bahorilal Kureel said, “Movement of locusts to the city was perhaps caused by rains. We faced a problem in controlling the insects as we couldn’t have used excessive amount of insecticide in killing the locusts given presence of people. We used four to five fire tenders to drive them away. The district administration was swung into action the moment they entered the city. We are keeping a watch on their further movement.”