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From Our Special Correspondent
GUWAHATI: Vegetable prices have skyrocketed in the retail markets of Assam over the past couple of weeks as floods continue to ravage several thousand acres of crop land across the state this season.
According to the flood report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, about 1,35,226 hectares of crop land across 16 districts of the state have been affected till Sunday evening.
Farm lands along the bordering areas of Assam have bore the brunt of the deluge with Dhubri (18, 931.5 hectares) being the worst hit even as 5,500 hectares in Nagarbera alone under Kamrup lie submerged in floodwaters.
Other border districts such as South Salmara (6.157 hectares) and Goalpara (5,120 hectares) have also been adversely affected.
“The little quantity of squash and tomatoes that you see in my basket are from Meghalaya. Most of the farmlands in Kuruwa (on the north bank of the Brahmaputra), from where I procure my vegetables, lie submerged. So prices of almost all kinds of vegetables have almost doubled over the past few weeks,” Ratan Das, a vegetable seller at Uzan Bazar, said on Monday.
Given the impact of floods on farm lands, vegetable sellers have been induced to procure less, which can be seen in the retail markets here.
Not just vegetables, floods have hindered fishing activities as well, with the supply of local fish to wholesale markets here reducing substantially.
“The larger local Rou fishes are selling for Rs 1,300 a kg today at the wholesale market in Uzan Bazar, which is almost double the rate than about a month back. The Barali variety is selling for Rs 500 per kg as against Rs 350-Rs 400 earlier,” said Jafar Ali, a fish monger, who procures limited stock from the wholesale market for door-to-door sale.
Not just river fish, those which are brought to the Uzan Bazar market from the fisheries in Morigaon, the worst affected as far as farmlands are concerned, are less in quantity and priced at least 30 per cent higher than in the pre-flood season.
“The varieties from the fisheries of Barpeta, Morigaon et al, have also increased by about Rs 200 per kg now. So customers have been very picky on the stocks,” said Narayan Paswan, a fish seller at Uzan Bazar riverside market, a portion of which has been “occupied” by rising floodwaters of the Brahmaputra.
Flood water is showing receding trend in most of flood-hit districts in Assam where death toll due to flood has mounted to 69 including two deaths due to landslide.
Two more persons have lost their lives due to flood in the districts of Dhemaji and Dhubri in last 24 hours. In this season, the total loss of human lives has risen to 67 persons in flood and two persons in landslide.
According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), as on Monday, the water level in all districts is receding.
A total of 2,283 number of villages in 59 revenue circles of 18 districts viz. Dhemaji, Biswanath, Darrang, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kamrup (M), Morigaon, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat and Cachar, are flooded affecting a population of 30,55,837.
Presently, 644 relief camps are operational in the districts with 96,890 inmates and 113 Relief Distribution Centres.
The water level of Brahmaputra River at Neamatighat (Jorhat) and Dhubri and Jia Bharali at N.T. Road Xing (Sonitpur) are reported to be at a danger level.