Melvyn Reggie Thomas,
TNN | Jun 7, 2015, 12.57 PM IST
SURAT: Mohan Patel, a farmer in Tukwada village of Pardi taluka and his workers have been keeping round-the-clock vigil at his 10-acre mango orchard. In the last one week, Patel has lost as much as 2,000kg top quality alphonso and kesar mangoes. These fruits valued at over Rs 1.4 lakh were stolen by mango thieves.
Despite security and CCTV cameras, mango orchard owners in the interior villages of Valsad are a worried lot. As many as 30 incidents of mango thefts have been reported in last fortnight wherein the gangs have stolen an estimated 35,000kg of mangoes of different varieties.
Two days ago, a mango orchard owner in Pardi taluka caught one out of five mango thieves who entered his orchard, while others managed to escape with 500kg mangoes in a vehicle.
Police said that the theft cases in the mango orchards in interior villages of Valsad have increased as the thieves are getting good price for the fruit as around 50% crop has failed in the region.
The local police station in Pardi were flooded with complaints from mango orchard owners. They have complained that gangs were stealing the fruits from their farms.
Dipak Naik, chairman of Amalsad APMC market said, "Not only do the thieves escape with huge quantity of mangoes, but they also damage the trees. This year, production is just 40%. Last year, we received 19.20 lakh kg of mango and this year it is just 7.20 lakh kg. Many of the member farmers in Amalsad and Gandevi have complained and they are quite worried."
BJ Sarvaiya, sub-inspector Pardi police station said, "In the last fortnight, we have registered five complaints and have been successful in nabbing three mango thieves. These are local tribal people from the nearby villages who target the mango orchards." There are many petty incidents of thefts occurring every day, which are not reported to the police, he added.
Vikas Jadhav, a fruit merchant in Dharmpur mango market who has contract with six orchard owners in Umbergaon taluka said,"It is difficult to keep vigil in the sprawling orchards spread in 10 acres to 15 acres during night. Having lost more than 5,000kg of mangoes in the last fortnight, we have requested the police to intensify patrolling during the night hours."
VA Dabhi, police sub-inspector of Valsad rural police said, "We have received more than 10 complaints in the last 20 days of mango thefts. There are large number of oral complaints too. We have already started patrolling with the help of villagers."