Dry spell adds to woes of jute growers in West Bengal
A dry spell has affected lands under jute cultivation in Jalpaiguri District in West Bengal and a lack of effective government intervention is leaving jute growers worried and in for huge losses.
This year, inadequate rainfall has left most jute farm lands dry and hampered the sowing of jute fiber plants.
According to farmers, more than 40 percent of jute crops have been damaged due to no rain.
The farmers also claimed that they have been provided no help from the government despite the alarming situation.
"Rainfall has been very less. We are facing torture from the government and from the nature. How will we survive, the government is not paying heed to our problems, even the cost of fertiliser is too much," said a farmer in Jalpaiguri district, Bijaya.
According to the weather department, last year Jalpaiguri district received 167.4 mm rainfall but this year it was only 7.6 mm of rainfall.
More than two lakh (200,000) people in the district are directly engaged in the jute industry.
The jute production in north Bengal is an ancient old agro-based industry.
The industry has been active since before the partition and jute being a cash crop had been a contributing factor to the economy as a whole for the north Bengal.
The districts of Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Malda are the main regions for jute cultivation in north Bengal.
The climatic conditions are usually favourable in this region for jute sowing. Though the industry has not accelerated at the pace expected, it has contributed to the livelihood of many in the region.
(Posted on 03-05-2014)