Unable to take crops to 'mandis' due to damaged roads, farmers in Lahaul-Spiti a worried lot

Shimla, August 3

With roads and bridges damaged after heavy rains and landslides last week, over 1,500 farmers of Udaipur sub-division in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul-Spiti district are worried that they might not be able to take their ripe crops to 'mandis' this year.

Farmers urged the district administration to repair roads or at least build 'kaccha' roads to facilitate the movement of vehicles.

At least seven people were killed in flash floods in Lahaul-Spiti triggered by a cloudburst over Tozing Nullah in Udaipur on July 27. Several roads were also blocked due to landslides.

Tonnes of ripe peas, cauliflowers, broccoli, iceberg lettuce and lilium flowers are being destroyed every day as farmers are unable to take them to 'mandis' after roads were damaged due to the cloudburst over the Tojing Nullah, said Bir Bahadur Singh, a farmer and Trilokinath Temple 'Kardar' (main trustee of its management committee).

The Udaipur farmers sell their crops in Bandrol, Manali, Bhuntar and Takoli 'mandis' of the state and in different 'mandis' of Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi either directly or indirectly through farm traders, he said.

A woman farmer, Bhim Dasi urged the administration with folded hands to repair the roads so that farmers can take their crops to 'mandis'.

Another farmer, Chudu Ram told PTI that farmers will die of starvation in winters if their crops do not reach 'mandis'.

If the administration cannot repair the roads immediately, it should at least construct 'kaccha' roads so that trolleys and other vehicles can get to 'mandis', he said.

However, state Technical Education Minister and Lahaul-Spiti MLA Ram Lal Markanda dismissed Singh's claims of ripe crops getting destroyed.

"The temple 'kardar' is a local Congress leader and is levelling baseless allegations of ripe crops getting destroyed," he said.

When told that several other farmers, too, have expressed concern over the situation, Markanda said currently, the priority is to rescue stranded people. As many as 372 stranded people have been rescued in the last six days.

"I am also worried about the farmers of my area as I know that they grow only one crop a year. I am visiting the affected areas of my constituency instead of attending the ongoing monsoon session of the state assembly to redress their grievances," he added.

Markanda said six bridges were damaged due to the heavy rains and efforts are being made to restore vehicular traffic movement on them in the next two days.


Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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