Dry spell hits Chhattisgarh

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Reeva (Chhattisgarh), Aug 30 (ANI): Prolonged dry spell loomed large over Chhattisgarh, known as 'rice bowl of central India'.

Lack of proper rainfall, a requisite for a good yield of rice, has left the farmers deeply worried.

Though the sowing has been done in 92 per cent of the targeted area, the yield is bound to be affected badly as cracks appear in fields due to lack of water.

Reeva is one such village.

"The paddy has been sown but cracks have developed in the fields due to lack of water. I haven't seen anything like this before," said Banarasi, a farmer.

The farmers have sown hybrid variety of rice and have invested around rupees 2,800 a substantial amount, for these poor farmers who are already reeling under financial crisis.he paddy crop in many fields has been damaged due to intense heat.

"I had sown paddy and maize. I had sown hybrid variety of paddy and had purchased it for rupees 2,800 from Baikunthapur and had worked very hard in the fields. But despite all this, the crop has started drying up. My entire labour and money is wasted. I have not seen such a situation before," said Sudama, another farmer.

The farmers want the government to declare their region as drought hit and provide them aid.

According to State Agriculture Minister Chandrasekhar Sahu, the yield of the paddy is bound to go down and is likely to be reduced to around 60 per cent of the usual produce in the state.

"Considering today's scenario, we have estimated that this year, there will be around 60 per cent less produce than the normal production in the region," said Sahu.

The production of rice in Chhattisgarh was 5.7 million tons in 2008.

But this year's poor monsoon is making it difficult to meet the higher target in a state where around 80 per cent of the total population is dependent on agriculture.

Eighteen districts of the state have been declared drought hit by the state government.

Around 70 per cent of Chhattisgarh's agricultural area is totally dependent on rains. By Shiv Shankar Sarthi (ANI)

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