CANACONA: In a devastating fire inferno, apparently originated to dry-Grass, a huge Orchid Polyhouse goes up in flame at Keri-Agonda.
According to the owner Shamrao Dessai, at about 8 pm on Saturday night, he was informed by some nearby residing people that huge fire flames are seen in the direction, where his polyhouse is situated at Keri, a forested area in Agonda. ‘normally, I visit my Polyhouse located at Keri almost daily, but on that fateful evening (Saturday, 10th Mar), I did not came, but by 8 pm, I received a call, saying some of the nearby living people saw flames seen in the direction where my polyhouse is situated.
By the time I reached there , everything and the entire polyhouse, leaving only a 5% of the polyhouse got destroyed, even a fire services were informed but could not do much, except they have anticipated a loss of 30 lakhs of rupees ‘. ‘It is practically totally destroyed and though some pockets are seen intact, it’s very difficult to manage or revive whatever is left’. All electrical fitting is destroyed, water pipelines are burnt, all the beds having orchid is destroyed.
Fire Services pegged the losses at 33 lakhs.
It is suspected the fire apparently triggered to dry grass on the nearby forested hillock cover, went on to engulf the Polyhouse, situated in isolated locality.
Incidentally, Dessai’s Orchid Polyhouse constructed/erected during 2016, having a area of 4000Sqm is one amongst the 42 other Polyhouses felicitated by agriculture Department under its ambitious scheme during the term of Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar as Agriculture Minister.
During the Tuktae Cyclone, my entire Polyhouse got destroyed, but I with my own resources have repaired the damaged 3000 sqm in which I had carried out plantations in 2000 sqm and have kept everything ready with beds and everything for plantation in another 1000 sqm. Now everything is destroyed so, its next to impossible to manage it again.
According to Dessai, as per the intimation to compensate the losses during cyclone damages, we have submitted our claims with photos and everything to Agriculture Department, they carried out inspections through their Engineers from Panjim. Thought we will get some little help, and based on such expectations, I got the Polyhouse repaired by expending 10-12 lakhs of my own, but till today, not a single pie is paid by government for the tuktae losses.
I got it repaired thinking the plants would die, and it was my great folly to get it repaired than, covering more than half area, and since still there is no sign of compensation, I have already given it up, but even as I was planning to bring more square metres under plantation, now this fire inferno got my flatly out.’
‘Since, I had this ancestral property under my care I have opted for the government scheme of polyhouse with initial cost of 55 lakhs of rupees in the year 2016, thinking I will put the land to good use, but soon I realised I am virtually duped as the scheme amount took more than 3 years to come, and we were forced to pay hefty bank interests on the loans we were felicitated with.
Initially, itself I went into losses to the tune of Rs.25 lakhs, since the subsidy of 48 lakhs what they (government) had assured took 3 years and by the time subsidy came I had to pay 12 lakhs as interests to the bank. so including the repair during Tuktae damages , I am already running losses of 25 lakhs. But still I had kept the polyhouse running.
During Covid period, as there was no sale for flowers, orchids worth over 6 lakhs were wasted. I had to pay my loan/interest from whatever I got from my voluntary retirement. I had still expected some compensation from government, and were adamant to run the polyhouse under all odds., but now its third attack by fire and it’s virtually impossible to run it again.
Every time I had approached agriculture department I always get stereotype answers, that funds not there, it doesn’t fills in this or that, etc. I don’t have any more capacity left to run this and its impossible also. But I totally blame the department and the government for not leaving up to the scheme what they brought in. I don’t blame any minister; ministers will come and go, but departments needs to see its proper implementation. I only appeal to the people , not to ever think enter into a big investment project, even if government is promising 100 % subsidy, it’s okay for 10-15,000, but you can’t trust government for big investments’, a visibly upset Dessai informed media.
My advice to the youth, be cautious, don’t simply plunge into anything just because and thinking government will give you subsidy. As for Polyhouse scheme brought-in by the government, only 3-4 farmers may have success that too after severe initial constraints. For me this project looked good, and I am still saying the project is good as far as climatic conditions are concerned, but only if one has spare of 1 Cr, should think to enter in this project. We, the majority have purely failed because of department’s lack of management, Study in planning and knowledge of execution, we got lost in it.
When particularly asked for his message to youths to enter in agriculture fields, Dessai sarcastically said, ‘If you look at youtube videos, etc youth’s feels agriculture is lucrative and safe as far as hard work is put through. Still my advice is to think twice before you enter into agriculture. My full blame is on the department and agriculture department alone. -END