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Millennium Post

Losses in agriculture made up as sky opens up days before Pujas

Kolkata: The heavy rainfall in districts of South Bengal from September 29 to October 2, just days before the Durga Puja, has come as a boon for agricultural activities in the state. The state government that was apprehending reasonable losses in agriculture after the third week of September has only witnessed less cultivation in some blocks and are hopeful of making it up by helping the farmers to take up alternative cultivation to compensate for the loss they have suffered.

As per statistics of the state Agriculture department on the basis of reports collected from all the districts across Bengal, only 40 out of 341 blocks have had less cultivation. These blocks are spanned in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Hooghly, Howrah and East Burdwan. Cultivation of rice, vegetables and black gram (kalai) have been affected in these blocks. However, in certain blocks of Murshidabad, Birbhum and Nadia, the agricultural activities have been better than expectation, thereby compensating the amount of loss to a great extent. Percentage wise, the losses have been minimum.

"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed us to ensure that the farmers should not suffer losses in agriculture by any means. We are working out a concrete plan on how to help them with alternative farming. Seeds of miniket rice, maize and other products will be distributed free of cost among the cultivators and necessary guidance will be provided so that they can do alternative cultivation and make up for whatever losses they have suffered," said Asish Banerjee, the state Agriculture minister.

In terms of number, the highest number of blocks affected are 14 in Murshidabad, followed by Malda 10, Birbhum 8, Hooghly 5, East Burdwan 2 and Howrah 1. The crisis in Birbhum just at the end of September was 47 percent but the rain has drastically brought it down to 15 percent, a senior official of the department pointed out.

"If there is less moisture on a farmland after cultivation of paddy, the crop often gets damaged. The rain during September end and October beginning has ensured minimum damage," he reasoned.

The deficit in rainfall in some districts of South Bengal was nearly 40 percent even during the third week of September but the situation changed drastically with the sky opening up, particularly from September 29 to October 2.

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