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Roads blocked, vegetables left to rot in fields, trucks

Four teams of Agriculture Department assess farmers’ losses in Lahaul-Spiti

Roads blocked, vegetables left to rot in fields, trucks

Vegetables lying in an agricultural field in Lahaul-Spiti district. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, September 9

Heavy rain and flashfloods in July and August this year not only damaged houses in several parts of the state, rendering hundreds of families homeless, but also damaged agriculture land. Four teams of the department are assessing the losses of farmers in the district.

Farmers of Lahaul and Spiti district have suffered huge losses due to the natural disaster, as they could not transport their agricultural produce to markets. Their produce was left to rot in agricultural fields as roads in Kullu and Mandi remained blocked for several days.

A majority of farmers in Lahaul and Spiti cultivate exotic vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, capsicum of various colours, celery, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, European carrot, parsley, leek, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and potato to earn their livelihood.

Data received from the Agricultural Department reveals that farmers of 28 villages in the district were directly affected by the rain disaster. The vegetable produce on eight hectares in the district was damaged because of the monsoon fury and a Rs 1.49 crore loss had been assessed. Four teams of the department are assessing the losses of farmers by visiting their fields. The vegetable produce of the farmers was left to rot in their fields due to blocked roads.

Sunil Kumar, a resident of Ranika panchayat, says, “The vegetable produce in the district was completely destroyed due to heavy rain and flashfloods. Due to blocked roads, we could not transport our vegetable produce to markets in time. As a result, we lost our only source of livelihood.”

Mohan Lal Relingpa, another farmer of the Lahaul valley, says, “We are in a pathetic condition after our vegetable produce was destroyed in the rain disaster. We have lost our sole source of livelihood. Due to blocked roads, the vegetable produce was left to rot in loaded vehicles that were stuck in Kullu and Mandi as well as in agricultural fields in Lahaul and Spiti. We need financial support from the state government to cope with the situation.”

Anuradha Rana, Chairperson of Lahaul and Spiti Zila Parishad, has raised the issue of the plight of farmers with local MLA Ravi Thakur and the state government so that the affected farmers could get financial assistance. She has also requested the Agriculture Department to assess the farmers’ losses.

Anuradha says, “In Lahaul and Spiti, farmers can produce only one crop once a year. The district remains covered under a thick blanket of snow for months every year. Farming is the sole source of livelihood of the rain-affected farmers. So, I urge the state government to provide relief to the affected farmers. It will be a great help for them.”

Gagan Pradeep, District Agriculture Officer of Lahaul and Spiti, says that this year, a Rs 1.49 crore loss due to the rain disaster has been assessed. The losses suffered due to blocked roads are being estimated.

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#Agriculture #Lahaul and Spiti #Mandi


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