Cyclone ‘Gulab’ left a trail of destruction in coastal Andhra Pradesh, damaging crops over 1.56 lakh acres and causing extensive loss to infrastructure.
The cyclone, which crossed the Andhra-Odisha coast on Sunday night, triggered heavy rains and strong winds, uprooting electricity poles. Six persons lost their lives in separate incidents.
As per the preliminary estimates by the state government, almost 1.56 lakh acres of crop loss occurred due to the cyclone, especially in Godavari and Krishna districts.
Agriculture Minister K. Kannababu said paddy crop over 1,16,823 acres was damaged, and maize crop over 21,078 acres. In Krishna district, cotton crop over 10,588 acres was damaged.
The cyclone also resulted in damage to horticulture crope over 7,207 acres. He said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has already directed the department to help the farmers who suffered crop losses.
It is estimated that crops were damaged in 169 mandals. Kannababu said that officials have been appointed to assess the crop damage, and assured that farmers will be provided all assistance.
He stated that the officials have been appointed to oversee the final enumeration and the District Collectors have been directed to hold Agri-Advisory Committee meetings to discuss the crop loss. As instructed by the Chief Minister, all the required measures will be taken to rescue the farmers.
He said while the government was working hard in these critical times, the opposition leaders were creating panic among farmers by taking up a malicious campaign against the government.
The minister slammed TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu for “misleading people”. He reminded that farmers were abandoned by TDP rulers during their regime but the same rulers are now shedding crocodile tears. “Unlike the previous government, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had always supported the farmers, introduced market stabilisation fund, and stood by them right from seed to sale,” he said.
Kannababu said that the TDP government had procured only 11.22 lakh tonnes of crops in five years at a cost of Rs 3,921 crore but the current government spent Rs 6,454 crore to procure 19.39 lakh tonnes of crops in the last two years.
He said agriculture growth rate declined from 8.31 per cent to 4.75 per cent during the TDP’s rule but it increased to 5.52 per cent under the YSRCP rule. Similarly, the growth rate in livestock and fisheries was recorded at 8.84 per cent and 4.66 per cent, respectively, in the five years of the TDP rule while the same under the present regime was 12.51 per cent and 8.59 per cent.