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Govt to seek EC nod for crop damage relief to Maha, MP

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on crops, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, in its meeting here on Wednesday decided to extend relief to these two states.

The development comes amdist reports that several farmers have committed suicide in hailstorm-hit districts in Maharashtra. On reports of farmer suicides, Pawar said, ‘We have not received any communication from the state on this issue.’

Asked about the quantum of relief, Pawar told reporters, ‘I cannot share due to model code of conduct. The EGoM met on Wednesday and discussed about the crop damage in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We have taken some views on the proposals sent by states. We will communicate to the Election Commission for clearance on Thursday.’

Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Home Minister Shushil Kumar Shinde were also present in the EGoM meeting. Pawar said about 30 lakh hectares of land that cultivate crops, including wheat, pulses, onion and grapes, have been damaged in the two states by unseasonal rain.

In Maharashtra crops in 17,69,403 hectares in 28 districts have been damaged, while in Madhya Pradesh 11,55,993 hectares in 51 districts have been hit, he said.

Asked if the EGoM considered any relief package to Karnataka and Rajasthan, Pawar said, ‘We received a memorandum from Karanataka one hour before the EGoM meeting. We have not yet received any memorandum from Rajasthan as of now.’

In Karnataka, 1,84,070 hectares in 13 districts, including Tumkur, Kolar and Mandya, have been affected. ‘We will soon constitute a team and despatch it to the state for assessing the situation.

After the team submits the report, we will meet again to decide on relief,’ he said. According to sources, the Maharashtra government had sought a relief of Rs 1,427 crore.

General insurers may take Rs 100-cr hit: AIC

Mumbai:
State-run Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) on Wednesday said that general insurers may see claims ranging from Rs 85 crore to Rs 100 crore arising from the massive crop damages, spanning over 8 lakh hectares, following hailstorms in Maharashtra earlier this month. ‘As per our initial estimates, claims may be to the tune of Rs 85-100 crore from this event,’ said AIC general manager Rajeev Chaudhary.

The public sector insurer, which specialises in providing weather and crop insurance, has one of the largest presence in this region of the western state. As per the company, 10 crops are insured of which three are cereals and rest are horticultural crops. While cereals include wheat, jowar and Bengal gram; horticultural crops include oranges, grapes, guavas, pomegranates and cashews among others.

‘Covers for horticultural crops like cashew, guava and grapes are covered under the crop insurance scheme till February 15. So, claims from these crops will not be much. We are now assessing the damage for the rest of the crops,’ Chaudhary said.

Crop insurance is voluntary in Maharashtra while taking a loan from banks. Chaudhary said the total premium collected from Maharashtra per annum by the general insurance industry from weather and crop insurance related segments collection is Rs 73 crore.
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