Frequent cyclones continue to haunt the people of Srikakulam district which has a 180-km-long coast from Itchapuram to Ranasthalam. The district suffered more than ₹500 crore loss in various cyclones such as Laila, Phailin, Hud-Hud and Gulab which hit the backward region since 2012.
The cyclones and the subsequent floods in the Vamsadhara, Nagavali and other rivers have resulted in loss of crop in lakhs of acres. Coconut and cashew groves which provide livelihood to thousands of people in areas like Itchapuram, Sompeta, Kanchili, Kaviti, Mandasa and Palasa are the first to suffer whenever cyclones hit the Uddanam region which is very close to the coast.
Titli cyclone in October, 2018 caused devastation in entire Palasa town, inflicting heavy damage to cashew units. Over 90 factories out of 120 were affected. Palasa Cashew Manufacturing Units Association president Malla Srinivasa Rao says that the factory owners could not get any financial assistance from the government for the damaged structures. “Apart from structures, machinery was also damaged in many factories. The owners are not in a position to renovate the buildings as they need around ₹50 lakh. They can take up repairs and renovation if the government extends financial assistance to them. It will benefit thousands of workers who depend on the factories for their livelihood,” he says.
Former Minister and TDP Rajam constituency in-charge Kondru Muralimohan alleges that the government authorities are not bothered about taking up enumeration of crop damage immediately after cyclones, floods and heavy rains. Mr. Muralimohan, who visited various villages of Vangara and Rajam mandals, which were affected by Gulab cyclone and recent heavy rains, says that immediate payment of compensation will instil confidence among farmers.
CPI district secretary Sanapala Narasimhulu says that illegal fish ponds in different parts of the district have also been causing damage to crops. “The illegal ponds are disrupting free flow of water into rivers and seas. The stagnated water is spoiling the standing crops,” he says.