Kerala floods damage 45000 ha of farm fields; Paddy, Banana, Spices among worst hit; Floods due to slaughtering of cows in open: BJP MLA

Floods in Kerala have damaged paddy, banana, spices and other crops in 45,000 hectare of farmland, agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said on Monday.

The state government has been asked to submit a detailed proposal seeking central funds to provide relief to the growers, he said.

“The state has estimated damage to 45,000 hectare of farm fields. We have also got the same report. More than crops, the damage to houses and other infrastructure is more in Kerala,” Pattanayak told PTI.

Paddy has been affected in 20,000 hectare and even banana plantations has been hit badly. Spices like caradmom have been affected in 2,000 hectare or so, he said.

As per the official data, area sown to paddy crop in Kerala stood at 57,000 hectare till last week in the current season, lower than 62,000 hectare in the year-ago period.

The sowing of paddy, the main kharif crop, begins with the onset of southwest monsoon from July and harvesting is done from October onwards.

Vijayapura’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal has kicked up a row by saying the devastating floods in Kerala occurred because of slaughtering of cows in the open.

“In Kerala, people openly slaughter cows. What happened? Within a year, a situation like this (flood) arose. Whoever hurts Hindu religious beliefs will face such consequences,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Vjayapura on Saturday.

The BJP MLA was apparently referring to an incident in Kerala last year, where a group of men slaughtered a cow in the open, triggering a controversy.

Yatnal said Hindus had sentiments attached to cows and nobody should hurt others’ religious beliefs. He added that if the BJP came to power in Karnataka, cow slaughter will be stopped.

Known for making controversial statements, the BJP MLA had last month said if he was the home minister, he would have the intellectuals shot dead as they worked for the human rights of terrorists and not the soldiers who laid down their lives to protect the country.