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Frustrated Marathwada farmers take Met department to the police

Mumbai: Frustrated with the Met department seemingly getting its forecasts wrong all the time? Well, farmers from a village in Maharasthra’s Marathwada region suspect a plot.

They filed a police complaint against the India Meteorological Department, accusing it of colluding with seed and pesticide manufacturers and inflating the monsoon forecast figures.

The complaint, filed at the Dindrud police station in Majalgaon tehsil of Beed district, said officials of the Pune and Colaba Met Department “colluded” with the manufacturers and caused loss of lakhs of rupees to farmers, who undertook sowing operations based on the forecast.

Mr Gangabhishan Tha-ware, 54, a farmer from Anandgaon in Beed district, who is among the complainants, said the IMD officials had misled farmers saying that there would be ample rain during Kharif in June.

“Farmers undertook sowing operations, based on the IMD forecast. But after a brief initial spell, there has been no rain and farmers are staring at a bleak future, with the sowing operations having gone waste,” Mr Thaware said.

“Farmers in our region completed pre-sowing operations before June, based on the IMD forecast which said there will be ample rains in June-July this year,” he said.

“Despite scanty initial rainfall, farmers in our village undertook sowing operations as the IMD forecast a good rainfall. They spent lakhs of rupees on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and labourers wages,” the farmer said.

According to Mr Thaware, farmers have also written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking his intervention.

“IMD officials and those in seed and fertiliser companies, who colluded with each other and gave an inflated forecast are responsible for the plight of farmers and should be taken to task,” Mr Tha-ware said. An police official said they were looking into the complaint. The IMD was not available for comment.

PTI