A team of officials, deputed by the Centre, visited Nashik and Dhule districts on Thursday and Friday to assess the damage caused to crops by heavy unseasonal rain and hailstorm in the region over the past fortnight.
In Nashik, they stopped at Askheda, Akhatwade, Wadhale villages in Baglan tehsil, Dhawaleshwar, Talwade, Belgaon in Malegaon tehsil, Khamkheda and Warvandi villages in Deola tehsil and some villages in Chandwad tehsil.
Before covering Nashik, the team visited some places in Dhule where they talked to the farmers about the condition of the crops.
The team comprised of officials from the revenue and agriculture departments. It also included RN Mathur, additional consultant in the water and hygiene department, and SM Kolhatkar, an officer of the Cotton
Development Board. They were accompanied by Nashik district collector Vilas Patil.
In Nashik, rabi wheat and gram crops have been destroyed. Grape vineyards and pomegranate orchards have been damaged and onion fields left waterlogged.
Many farmers in distress whom the experts spoke to urged them to make assistance available immediately. They also met groups of farm labourers who described the financial hardship they were undergoing due to loss of work following the destruction.
While the officials did not offer any statement on the situation. It was learned that a report would be prepared by the divisional office and submitted to the Union agriculture ministry shortly.
The state government has estimated damage to crops on about eight lakh hectares, mainly in Western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said a couple of days ago that he talked to the prime minister and the Union agriculture minister on the matter and relief would be arranged for people in the affected areas after an assessment of the damage.