Mainaguri and Halepakari: In the wake of the lockdown, Teestapar’s watermelons are on hand. Towards the end of March, the distributors from different parts of the country came and gathered at the Teesta river in the Mainaguri block. But the distributors have yet been seen for lockdown. So thousands of tonnes of watermelons are wasted on the ground. Under this condition watermelon growers are decomposing.
Most of the watermelons are cultivated in North Bengal at the Teesta river in the Mainaguri block. At the same time, a large number of watermelons are cultivated in the Char area of Jaldhaka river. Watermelons produced by Teesta and Jaldhaka are exported every year to Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, and neighboring countries Nepal and Bhutan. The quality of watermelons produced in this region is also good enough. Therefore, there is considerable demand for watermelon in the State and neighboring countries. Every year, the third week of March begins. From the first week of April, truckloads of watermelons started exporting in the morning. But this year, in the wake of the lockdown, buyers did not come to the area. Local vendors aren’t even looking to buy watermelons.
on about 250 acres of land watermelon is cultivated in this area. Watermelon is cultivated on 150 acres of land adjacent to Jaldhaka river. At least 50,000 tonnes 2 to 3 types of watermelons are produced annually from this region. At least eight hundred farmers are associated with this cultivation in the Mainaguri block. Watermelon cultivators cultivate temporary tents along the river for four to five months. One kilogram of watermelon seeds cost around 6 -12 thousand rupees. One kilogram of seed yields 8,000 plants. At least three months of hardwork, it is costing 25,000 to bring the watermelon yield. One Kokraj watermelon weighs 7-8 kg. The weight of the madhuri melon is 7 to 8 kg. Each one is purchased at 7-8 rupees per kg. Srikanth Biswas has cultivated watermelons in about forty bighas of land at the Teesta river in the area of Mainaguri Jorpakari. He said no one came due to the lockdown this time. I cultivated watermelon with loan from bank. I do not understand what to do in this situation. Another watermelon farmer Shyam Sarkar said watermelon cannot be kept in the ground for too long. The watermelons melts away quickly when it rains. The watermelon is beginning to crumble on the ground. Bimalandu Chowdhury, Agriculture Worker of the Mainaguri Panchayat Association, said the situation of the watermelon farmers was dire. After Bigha, the Bigha land is on the decline. Buyer not seen. Efforts are being made to stand by the farmers administratively. Locksmith farmers in Teesta upazila in the village of Padmati-2 in the Mainaguri block have also been in serious danger at lockdown. Though suitable for marketing, they could not pick up watermelons from the land. Haat-bazaar closed, closed vehicles. The vendor is not moving. As a result, watermelon farmers are spending their days in extreme anxiety. Watermelon growers in the area said that this time they planted some watermelons in advance. This time the yield is better than other times.