Thane sets back coastal farmers by two decades

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There will be no harvest this Pongal in Cuddalore, which boasts over a lakh fertile hectares of paddy and sugarcane.

Cyclone Thane, which struck the coastal district and surroundings on December 30, not only wiped out ripe crops but also uprooted thousands of coconut, cashew and jackfruit trees grown over a decade.

It is no better in the neighbouring Union territory of Puducherry. Shell-shocked farmers are saying it would take them a couple of decades to overcome the losses.

There has been no supply of drinking water and electricity since the storm struck the coastal district. Government and voluntary agencies started reaching water in trucks Tuesday, but there are still some tail-end spots that are crying for attention.

With their houses damaged by the storm that ravaged the area with wind speeds of over 120 kmph, many families continue to live in the open.

“We hope the officials will work harder and faster once the chief minister visits us tomorrow [Wednesday],” said P. Anjalakshmi, 27.

Six months pregnant, she was hoping to get enough from the family’s groundnut field to celebrate the baby’s arrival, but now she would have to borrow even to meet the obstetrician’s bill.

All-India Kisan Sabha (TN chapter) president K. Balakrishnan estimates the damage to be over `2,000 crore.

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