The Maharashtra government has given an administrative nod to release nearly Rs 313 crore from the state disaster response fund (SDRF) for farmers whose crops were damaged in the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms. A government resolution (GR) to this effect was issued recently, a revenue department official said. According to figures of the revenue department, standing crops on 2,93,289 hectares of land, spread over 19 districts, were affected by the last month’s unseasonal rains and hailstorms. “The government has sent a memorandum to the Centre seeking a financial assistance of Rs 2,400 crore collectively for pink bollworm (a pest) attacks on cotton crops and damage to crops caused by hailstorms and unseasonal rains,” Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar told PTI. The Centre is yet to release any amount.
He said the amount (Rs 313 crore) sanctioned for farmers affected by hailstorms and unseasonal rains will be provided on an urgent basis and as per the SDRF norms. Once the required funds are sanctioned by the Centre, this amount will be adjusted against the money taken from the SDRF, Fundkar said. As per the data, Rs 139 crore would be required for affected farmers in Amravati division, Rs 130 crore in Aurangabad, Rs 42 crore in Nagpur and Rs 96.72 lakh in Nashik division. “The government has told the district collectors it will be mandatory for them to conduct `panchnama’ (site inspection) for agricultural fields that have suffered losses of more than 33 per cent,” the revenue department official said.
In such cases, the maximum compensation will be provided for two hectares, he said. The collectors have also been directed to ensure the relief amount is directly deposited into the accounts of farmers and banks do not undertake any loan recovery exercise, the official said. Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has said “The BJP government has given the first right on the treasury to farmers.” He said 2.55 crore people in the state are directly or indirectly connected to the agriculture sector.
“When farmers are in trouble, it is the government’s responsibility to stand by them. We will leave no stone unturned to help them despite our financial constraints,” said Mungantiwar