Titli casts a pall of gloom

The devastation wrought by the cyclonic storm Titli and the resultant heavy rain has cast a shadow on Dussehra festivities across Odisha, especially for farmers. Hundreds of puja pandals in the State — where Durga Puja got under way on Tuesday — are witnessing low turnout as people are yet to recover from the shock of the cyclone. After toiling for six months and investing hard-earned savings, farmers were anticipating a healthy harvest in the next two months. However, cyclone and heavy rain damaged the standing crop at many places. The kharif crop has been affected over an area of 2,13,801 hectares (paddy 1,48,681 ha and non-paddy 65,120 ha) in nine districts — Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack, Khordha, Balasore and Puri. The damage has been severe in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal. Although all is not lost in districts like Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur, farmers fear that there would be a drop in harvest. “Multi-department assessment of crop damage is under progress and the final report is expected within a week,” said Bishnupada Sethi, Special Relief Commissioner. The SRC has also directed District Collectors to provide ex-gratia to the next of the kin of those who died in the cyclone and the resultant floods within three days. The Odisha government had earlier announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. As per a report of the Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, livestock loss has been severe. Fishermen were also not spared, with 300 boats fully damaged and 265 partially damaged. Moreover, 607 fish ponds covering 428.97 ha and 69 private fish seed farms in an area of 47.250 ha have been damaged. “Who is thinking of any Dussehra festivities? The first priority is to repair damaged houses as winter is fast approaching. This Dussehra has turned into a black one for us,” said Haribandhu Karji, former sarpanch of Gangabada panchayat of Gajapati district, which was worst-hit by the disaster.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/titli-casts-a-pall-of-gloom/article25243343.ece

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