Dehradun, September 17
Uttarkashi farmers have suffered huge losses due to continuous rains and landslides this year as 40 per cent of the potato crop has damaged. The situation is yet to turn normal in the district after a massive cloudburst on August 3.
Uttarkashi is considered as the capital of potato growers. With an annual production of 48,905 MT, it is the highest potato producing district in the hill state. The state had produced 4,24,300 MT of potato last year.
The road network in the cloudburst-hit Uttarkashi is in a shambles as 26 roads still remain blocked. Even the Uttarkashi-Gangotri highway, a lifeline of potato growers in Uttarkashi, is in a bad shape. At present, only light vehicles are allowed to ply on the highway. Till it is open to heavy vehicles, farmers cannot transport their crop from fields to various mandis. Many prominent potato growing villages like Raithal, Barsu, Gorsali, Pujjan, Tihar, Pala, Silla, Sari and Dwar are situated on the highway and its nearby areas.
The harvesting of potato starts in early August. However, the cloudburst has affected the harvest and transportation of the crop. Raithal, Barsu, Bhatwari, Harsil, Mori, Purola, Gorshali and Sukkhi are some of the villages famous for potato cultivation in Uttarkashi.
Horticulture scientist, Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Pankaj Nautiyal says: “Heavy rain can spoil up to 20 per cent of the potato production due to late blight disease. If the crop is not harvested in time, fungus in soil will develop, harming the potato yield. Rain and damaged roads will adversely affect the potato yield this time in Uttarkashi.”
Jagmohan Rawat, a farmer from Barsu village, rues: “Potatoes are rotting in our village. The road connecting our village with other areas got damaged in the monsoon and we have no option to transport the crop. Potato growers will have to suffer a loss of 40 per cent this time due to heavy rain and road blocks. At present, only jeeps and cars are plying on the Uttarkashi-Gangotri highway. Till it is open to heavy vehicles, we cant transport our yield.”
As there is no cold storage in Uttarkashi, there is no hope for farmers to take their crop to safer locations. Dalbeer Singh, a farmer from Kankari village, says, “Owing to landslides and poor road conditions, no transporter is willing to send their truck to the remote area.”

See More