After remaining submerged in water for nearly 6 months, Belagavi district of North Karnataka is facing the aftermath of floods. Belagavi received 652 mm above normal rainfall this year. On average Belgaum receives 1391 mm of rainfall but this year it was 2067 mm. Agricultural crops spread over more than 1 lakh hectares of land and more than 5000 houses washed away in the heavy floods. The farmers of the district suffered a huge loss.
Bailhongal taluk of Belgaum district is the major producer of cotton, soybean, jowar and sugarcane. But this year none of the farmers had good production of any crops. Excessive water has washed away entire crops. The cotton and soybean producing farmers have a less and low-quality production with a reduction of 70 per cent.
A farmer Rajappa Mulimani told that he sprayed pesticides and put manure 4-5 times on his crops, but the yield of the cotton is not good. Heavy rains have spoiled the crop. Thus, he has faced a loss of approx. 30-40 quintals of cotton in 1 acre of land.
APMCs which receive cotton in ample amount from the villages every year have seen a huge decline in the quantity as well as the quality of the cotton. As a consequence, many of the APMC shops have shut down and workers have left their jobs.
Another farmer said that his 2 acres of land was submerged in water and now the land has become infertile causing him a loss of nearly Rs. 1- 2 lakhs. Government promised to provide a compensation of Rs. 4000 per acre of land to each farmer but even after the passage of 5 months, the govt. has not turned up to help them.
A farmer usually spends nearly Rs. 25,000- 30,000 to produce a crop in 1 acre of land. The huge loss has made it difficult for them to repay the loans they took for production. With this loss, they are still waiting to receive compensation from the state government.
Floods have not only affected the farmers but the daily wage workers who work on these farmer’s land to earn their living. They have lost their main source of income.
Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, President of Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha and Hasiru Sene told us, “the authorities stored water for a long time when it rained and left the whole water at the same time, which lead to overflow of rivers. The taluk is still in the worst condition, acres of crops washed away, thousands of animals and people drowned in water in this period of 5 months. The villagers are facing a hard time to earn meal for them. With this no response from the government is adding up to their difficulties. The funds released by Central Government have been used for other purposes.”
As per the Zila Panchayat office of Bailhongal taluk, almost all the farmers have received Rs. 6000 per acre as compensation for agricultural loss and Rs. 50,000- 5 lakhs for house damage under grade a, b and c type of damage. Only those who had problems with Aadhar card and documents have not received the money.
But the ground reality is far different from the documents. The river Malaprabha is still overflowing with many acres of land still submerged in it. Heavy floods after 8 years of drought has made the farmer’s life miserable.