'Cyclone Thane uprooted 2 crore trees in Cuddalore district'

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More than two crore trees were uprooted by cyclone Thane in the district and their disposal would take over six months due to various reasons including shortage of manpower, a senior Agriculture department official said on Wednesday.

The severe storm accompanied by gale force wind with speed touching 135 kmph that hit the district coast on December 30 brought down more than two crore jackfruit, mango, banana, coconut and cashew trees among others across the district, Assistant Director of Agriculture P. Hariharan said.

Though the uprooted trees, including those in houses, roads, streets and bylanes, were cleared they had been dumped at several places for final disposal.

Merchants from Salem and Coimbatore, major hubs for wood trade, were camping in the district for buying the trees, but prices had fallen steeply in view of the huge availability.

The process of disposal had been hindered by the shortage of woodcutters and lorries required to transport them, Hariharan said.

Casuarina trees were being bought at Rs 800 per tonne as against the normal rate of Rs 2,000 per tonne while jackfruit tree fetched Rs.1,200 per tonne against Rs. 3,000, he said adding there were no takers for coconut trees.

Daily about 150 to 200 lorries were transporting about 15 tonnes of logs each to Salem and Coimbatore districts, but at this rate, it would take more than six months to clear the trees, he added.

Besides, most of the farmers were not willing to sell the trees at low price resulting in non-removal of destroyed cashew trees grown in over 73,750 acres and jackfruit trees in 2,575 acres from the fields, Hariharan said.

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