Millennium Post

Yes, unseasonal rains damaged crops in over 50 lakh hectares

Replying to a short duration discussion in Rajya Sabha on this issue, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the rains in last three-four days have damaged crops in states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

“At some places there has been rainfall of upto 8 to 10 cms. The most-affected districts include Karnal in Haryana, Amritsar in Punjab, Bareli and Kanpur in UP, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Pune in Maharashtra, Jabalpur and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh,” he said. Observing that the states were empowered to release funds to the affected farmers, he said they have funds in this regard and Centre will provide more funds wherever required.

“As per initial reports received from states till now, there has been damage to 27 lakh hectares in Uttar Pradesh, 7.5 lakh hectares in Maharashtra, 14.5 lakh hectares in Rajasthan, 50,000 hectares in West Bengal and 6,000 hectares in Punjab,” the Minister said. “I am in touch with states where farmers have suffered badly and government is planning bring in a new ‘Krishi Amdani Yojna’ in the next financial year,” he added.

The government is also in the process of introducing a new agriculture income insurance scheme that would be implemented in the coming year, Singh said. Regarding earlier damage to crops in Maharashtra, he said his Ministry has written to the Home Ministry for release of funds under National Disaster Relief Fund to protect the affected farmers.

Earlier, members, cutting across party lines, expressed serious concern over the plight of the farmers and urged the Centre to take swift action to help them, even as a Congress member termed crop insurance as a “big scam”. Participating in the short-duration discussion on the issue, Ranjib Biswal (Cong) attacked the NDA Government for reducing the allocation for agriculture sector in the union budget.

“Crop insurance is a big scam... Only selected people are getting compensation,” he said, adding that farmers were falling into the hands of money-lenders. Alleging that FCI was not procuring foodgrains from farmers, he said the recent hail storm and rains have put the farming community in great misery.

Another Congress MP, Hussain Dalwai, narrated the crisis in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, where hundreds of farmers’ suicides have been reported in the last few years. “About 70 per cent of land under mango cultivation was damaged due to unseasonal rains,” he said, while attacking the BJP-led government in Maharashtra and the Centre for not paying adequate attention to resolve the problems.

There were 300 suicides last year, which have increased to 600 this year in the Marathwada region, while in Ratnagiri, they have gone up to 700 to 800 this year, he said. Some MPs also asked the Government to announce such unseasonal rains as a “national calamity” to provide immediate succour to the affected farmers.

“Unseasonal rains should be considered as natural calamity... Farmers should be provided with pension,” Chandrapal Singh Yadav (SP) stressed. JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav urged the Government to take the state agriculture ministers and insurance firms in the loop to provide farmers relief.

Mehraj Jain (BJP) demanded that the Centre send a team for assessing the extent of damage in affected states, while another BJP member Ram Narayan Dudi emphasised on various measures like rain water harvesting. Bhupender Yadav (BJP), Vijaylaxmi Sadho (Congress), Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu (Congress) and Sanjay Singh (Congress) also participated in the discussion.
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