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Low pressure in Bay of Bengal makes Chittoor farmers jittery

Special Correspondent


  • Many tanks overflowing or breached; crops destroyed
  • Ryots in a dilemma on whether to go in for fresh planting
  • Fears of mango flowering and yield being affected
  • 500 sheep succumb to blue tongue disease

    TIRUPATI: With low pressure in the Bay of Bengal playing hide-and-seek and the otherwise semi-arid Chittoor district being battered by four consecutive cyclones in the last two months, the farm sector is in a confused state.

    All the minor irrigation dams, tanks and other water-bodies in the district are to the brim and many of them are either overflowing or breached even as the authorities are frantically trying to restore them.

    Even two days after the latest typhoon, Fanoos crossed the Andhra Pradesh - Tamil Nadu coast without wreaking serious havoc, moderate to mild showers continued in the district till Tuesday evening and it was only on Wednesday that Tirupati and the rest of the district, especially its eastern parts close to Chennai had a sunny afternoon.

    Amid such a situation the farmers of the district who have already lost their crops and seedlings in the last two spells of cyclone are in a dilemma whether to go in for fresh planting of seedlings or wait if not skip going in for a rice crop in the season altogether. It is estimated that the latest spell of the torrent has damaged paddy crop grown on 15,000 acres -- not to speak of the damages suffered by other crops like sugar cane, groundnut etc.

    Notwithstanding all this, the bulk of farmers is ready for a fresh round of cropping, mostly paddy and the district authorities are also said to be ready to supply paddy seeds to at least 50,000 acres in the district.

    The recurrent cyclones is also expected to impact both the flowering and yield of mango crops this season in the district which has a special place in the country's mango map and market. Flowering is expected to be delayed because of the continued wetness in the air.

    In a related development in the district, about 500 sheep are said to have perished due to the outbreak of the dreaded `blue tongue' disease in the Palamaner area during the last 10 days alone even as the veterinary authorities are trying frantically to contain the spread of the same.

    Elephant menace

    Meanwhile the forest authorities are said have sent proposals to the government to put up solar-operated electrical fencing for about 26 kms in all in the Palamaner and the Kuppam forest fringe areas to check the elephant menace. It may be mentioned that a huge herd of elephants that strayed into these forests from the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu thickets have been wreaking havoc in the fringe villages. Besides thousands of acres of precious crops being lost, many were trampled to death by the wild jumbos rampaging the villages.

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