GOALPARA, June 1 - Restrictions on the movement of people during the lockdown period has severely hit the agriculture sector in Goalpara district and the farmers engaged in the cultivation of vegetables and horticultural crops are the worst affected as they saw a sharp decline in the demand of their farm produce during this period.
Progressive farmer Abdul Halim of Ambari (west Goalpara) under Jumkaipara ADO circle said that the lockdown has brought huge financial losses to most of the farmers in his area as the vegetables and fruits couldn’t be sold or did not fetch minimum prices in the market. Their crops were also destroyed owing to over ripening of their farm produce during the lockdown restrictions.
He said that adding to their distress is the recent high intensity rainfall which destroyed all the standing crops including his boro paddy cultivation. He urged the government to understand the true nature of distress of the farmers because of disruption of farm activities due to the corona virus lockdown and take necessary initiatives to ameliorate their sufferings.
Abdul Hamid also pointed out that ever since the lockdown, there has been severe decline in farm activities in his area and the farmers in crisis are finding themselves in debt traps.
Meanwhile, according to the sources from the Agriculture department, the value of financial losses of around 7000 farmers engaged in horticulture crops is Rs 54 lakh in a total area of 678 hectares (aprox) under ADO circles of Ranjuli, Bikali, Dudhnoi, Krishnai, Dubapara and Matia of Dudhnoi subdivision and Agia, Lakhipur, Jaleswar, Jumkaipara, Sonari and Bordamal under Goalpara agriculture subdivision.
Regarding enquiries relating to allegations of serious anomalies in the selection of beneficiaries under PM-KISAN scheme in the district, the sources informed that the validation and verification of around 58,423 beneficiaries i.e., 73.39% of the total beneficiaries has been completed out of 93,013 beneficiaries and these names have been uploaded in the portal.
Sources further informed that out of 79,646 beneficiaries who have benefitted from the PM-KISAN scheme 47,498 have been found to be eligible while 5,089 beneficiaries have been found to be ineligible and 5,836 remained untraced as per the recent official records i.e. till 26/05/2020.
Also, the total amount of flood damage of the standing crops in the district is still under assessment. The department officials informed that shortage of manpower at the field level adversely affected the smooth functioning of the department at the field level.
Sources also informed that only 19 personnel are available for providing extension services instead of a total of 82 under the District Agriculture Extension Service.