Farmers planting paddy in Balan Bihul Rural Municipality. Farmer say they are unable to plant paddy due to lack of irrigation.
RAJBIRAJ, Aug 3: Farmers are worried after the floods of July 13 and July 24, which inundated more than 3,000 hectares of arable land in the district.
An exact data of the damage to the arable paddy fields caused by the floods has not been compiled yet.
Local units of the flood-affected area are trying to put together the statistics. However, according to the Agriculture Knowledge Center (AKC) of Saptari, as many as 3,200 hectares of the district’s land have been drowned by the flood.
Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality and Hanumannagar Municipality suffered the most damages in the floods. Some areas of Saptakoshi and Kanchanpur municipalities were also affected.
Sanjip Jha, a farmer of Tilathi, said there was little chance that plantation would take place this season as August has already started his five bighas of land was still under water.
“Of the total inundated land, plantation has been swept away in three bighas,” he said, “The lands are buried under the muddy layer and sands swept by the floods. The possibility of plantation is very slim.” More than 200 farmers of the village are suffering, according to Jha.
According to Dineshwor Mishra, chairman of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality Ward 1, the floods affected Tilathi, Launiya, Sakarpura, Belhi, Koiladi, Ko Barsain, and Banarjhula villages under the rural municipality. He said though the waterlogged areas have been cleared, the arable lands in the deeper areas are still under water.
Manoj Kumar Chaudhary, chairman of Tilathi Koiladi Ward 3, said: “Farmers in the southern area suffer every year. About 85% of farmers are dependent on agriculture but they said their paddy fields are damaged because water enters the land every year.”
“No matter the rate of plantation, it is hard to sustain it for a year,” said Gosain Yadav of Rampura Malhania village, “We are in the same situation this year. It has become the fate of farmers to suffer from either drought or flood.”
Meanwhile, AKC has claimed that plantation on 85% of paddy fields has been completed. According to AKC Rajbiraj Chief Bhagirath Yadav, paddy plantation on 59,200 hectares of land has been completed. A total of 70,000 hectares of land in Saptari including 40,000 hectares irrigated and 30,000 hectares unirrigated arable lands have witnessed paddy plantation, according to the statistics.
However, Yogendra Jha, a 72-year-old farmer, said that there is no basis to believe AKC’s statistics. “We all know the way how the statistics are compiled by the government, I don’t want to say their statistics is wrong, but plantation in the southern, western, and south-eastern parts of the district has not taken place,” he said.
Farmers claim that plantation has not even taken place in 50% of the cultivable land due to lack of irrigation.