NEW DELHI: From Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to parts of Maharashtra, the unseasonal showers over the weekend have dashed the hopes of thousands or farmers. The yield for crops like wheat, potato, mustard, onion is likely to be adversely impacted by the wet spell.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Hamirpur district, devastated after his standing Rabi crop was lost to the rain, a farmer, Indrajeet, committed suicide in his own field, leaving behind a distressed family and an unpaid debts.
“It’s not just the money he spent on tilling the fields. He took a loan for his daughter-in-law’s medical treatment,” his sister Rani told NDTV. “We are already under so much debt, where will we find the money to pay for our survival now?”
In Unnao, the unexpected hailstorm covered the fields, leaving a moist blanket. At least two farmers suffered massive heart attacks when they saw the damage to their standing crop.
Pushpa Singh, wife of one of the deceased farmers, said, “He had just eaten before he headed for the fields. He collapsed when he saw what it looked like after the hail storm.”
One-third of the country’s wheat comes from Uttar Pradesh from across an estimated area of 99 lakh hectares. It’s also the biggest potato producing state, with approximately 7 lakh hectares under potato cultivation.
Now, both these crops have been hit and the losses are certain to mount.
Experts who monitor agricultural produce say the rains couldn’t have come at a worse time – many crops are either waiting to be harvested and the damage is expected to further impact the Rabi crop estimates.
But in Parliament, the lawmakers’ discussion on the issue of unseasonal rains was marked by poor attendance. Many benches, on both opposition and treasury sides, were empty during the discussion in the Rajya Sabha.