State Govt. to assess crop damage caused by Cyclone Phethai

Bhubaneswar, Dec 20: The Odisha government Wednesday geared up for assessment of damage caused to standing crops and stocked paddy following an improvement in the situation after Cyclone Phethai triggered heavy rain in many parts of the state.

          Heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity squally wind had pounded several parts of south and west Odisha for two days under the impact of Cyclone Phethai that barrelled through coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday, officials said.

          Though no major destruction was inflicted on Odisha, the cyclonic storm caused major damage to standing crops and harvested paddy stocked in the southern and western regions of the state, they said.

          While weather was gradually turning dry, the state will witness a fall in temperature by 2 to 3 degree Celsius from Thursday, H R Biswas, Director of the Meteorological Centre here, said.

          Inclement weather affected normal life in different parts of south and western Odisha but no casualty was reported, a senior official said, adding that power supply was disrupted in some areas.

          Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said there were reports about damage to paddy crops in some districts in the south and western regions of the state due to the unseasonal rains and details are being collected.

          However, there was no major damage to stocks in procurement areas as precautionary measures had been taken to cover the paddy, he said.

          Sethi said financial assistance would be provided to farmers after obtaining detailed reports and making a thorough assessment of the affected areas.

          On the basis of the district collectors’ reports, the extent of crop damage would be ascertained and financial assistance provided to the affected farmers from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), and in accordance with the insurance provisions, Sethi said.

          The SRC said Balangir district had recorded the highest rainfall of 92.4 mm, followed by 77.9 mm in Jharsuguda and 74.4 mm in Sambalpur on Monday and Tuesday under the impact of the cyclone.

          While 100 blocks received more than 50 mm of rainfall, the average rainfall in the state during the period was recorded at 37.5 mm, he said.

          Heeding the state government’s advice, farmers in many parts of Odisha had taken precautionary measures to protect their crops from the rain.

          However, farmers in several areas still suffered considerable losses as the rain damaged standing paddy and cotton crops, along with harvested paddy stocks stashed in open fields.

          In view of the cyclonic storm, as many as 11,600 people were evacuated in Gajapati district, another official said.

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