Swirling Ganga destroys banana crop in Bihar
Swirling floodwaters of the Ganga have destroyed the banana crop in around 1,500 acres in two districts of Bihar, officials and worried farmers said
Banana farmers in Vaishali district, 30 km from Patna, and in Bhagalpur, around 200 km from the state capital, are cursing the floodwaters that ended their hopes of a good harvest this year.
Farmers are upset as their paddy and maize crops have also been completely washed away.
"It is estimated that the banana crop in nearly 1,500 acres have been destroyed," said an official of the agriculture department in Patna.
Vaishali District Magistrate Jitendra Srivastava admitted that standing banana crop have been affected, but the extent of the damage would only be known after floodwaters recede.
Santosh Rai, a banana farmer in Hajipur in Vaishali, said he was devastated after the swollen Ganga inundated his banana plantation.
"My dream to send my son to an engineering college has ended. I can barely earn to survive," Rai said.
Akhilesh Yadav, another banana farmer from Raghopur, said the rising Ganga played havoc with his banana crop.
"There is no hope left for us," Yadav said.
Both Rai and Yadav said they were struggling for the safety of their families after the Ganga flooded large areas since last week.
The agriculture department official said Vaishali is known as "banana arc" for producing a famous variety called "Chiniya" (small size with special flavour).
Naugachia in Bhagalpur, also known for banana plantation, was affected by the rising level of the Ganga that flooded several areas.
"My banana crop in over five acres has been destroyed after it was submerged in floodwater," said Arun Singh, a banana farmer from Naugachia, popularly known as the banana pocket of Bhagalpur.
Singh is not alone. Hundreds of other banana farmers in Naugachia no more hope for a bumper crop.
"We have lost our lifeline (banana crop) due to devastating floods this time," he said.
However, there was no let up in the fury of floods in over a dozen districts in the state Sunday. According to the state government, the toll in floods this year has gone up to 136.