The Maharashtra government will give financial assistance up to three hectares of land to farmers who have suffered crop losses due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms in the last few days, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Wednesday.
A cabinet minister separately said the quantum of aid will be decided after completing the ongoing crop damage assessment exercise.
Unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms last weekend have damaged crops on nearly one lakh hectares of land in different parts of Maharashtra, including Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, Shinde said on Monday, citing preliminary estimates.
During a state cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Shinde directed officials of revenue and agriculture departments to conduct 'panchanamas' (surveys) of crop losses in a coordinated way.
“Panchanamas are taking place on a war-footing. A decision has been taken to give relief up to three hectares. The government is committed to stand by farmers,” the CM told reporters after the meeting.
He said all district guardian ministers must visit affected farmers along with officials from departments concerned.
Hitting back at his predecessor and Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, Shinde said those who worked through 'Facebook Live' (during coronavirus pandemic while holding CM post) should not teach a party worker like him how to handle administrative matters.
People are intelligent enough to see through these attacks, he said.
On Tuesday, Thackeray had slammed Shinde for visiting Telangana for campaigning for a BJP candidate for the November 30 assembly polls amid crop losses in the state due to unseasonal rains.
Later, talking to reporters, Anil Patil, Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, said the exact assistance amount will be decided only after all panchanamas are completed.
He said 18 districts, of the total 36, have been affected due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms, leading to crop losses.
“Final report will be submitted at the earliest. It is necessary that panchanamas of all farmers (who have suffered crop losses) are done,” Patil said.
He said major damage was reported in Nashik district for grapes, tomato and onion crops, while foodgrains bore the brunt of untimely showers in Vidarbha.
Interacting with reporters before the cabinet meeting, Patil said the crop damage assessment report will be available in the next eight days.
“State government officials have been asked to submit the crop damage assessment report in the next eight days. The state government will announce compensation, including financial assistance to farmers, once the state-level final report is with us," said the minister.
“Primary assistance in some of the villages and tehsils where unseasonal showers have caused havoc has already been provided. We are currently gathering more details to ensure no affected person is left out of the final list,” he maintained.
Untimely showers and hailstorms on November 25 and 26 (some areas reported rains on more days) have caused havoc in parts of the state, including in districts like Nashik, Buldana and Ahmednagar, where cash crops, including grape, onion and cotton, have suffered extensive damage.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Ambadas Danve of the Shiv Sena (UBT) has demanded financial assistance of Rs 50,000 per hectare to rain-hit farmers.
A memorandum containing four demands, including Rs 50,000 per hectare aid to cultivators, and signed by leaders of the opposition party was submitted to the Divisional Commissioner's office in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar in central Maharashtra on Wednesday.
During the day, Danve toured rain-affected areas of Buldhana, Jalna and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar districts and met farmers who have suffered crop losses.
The opposition leader and his party colleagues later submitted the memorandum.
Danve, in the memorandum, said though initial reports have suggested that crops spread over 60,000 hectares of land in four districts of Marathwada have suffered damage, the actual loss is more than that.
He said the crop loss survey should be conducted in the entire region and aid given to all affected cultivators.
Unseasonal rains have damaged standing crops on 60158.36 hectares of land in Marathwada, including fruit plantations, an official from Divisional Commissioner's office in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar said in a release.
As many as 613 villages in three districts of the region were impacted by spells of untimely rainfall, it said.
Primary crop loss survey was flashed by the divisional commissioner office on Wednesday. The land having crops, fruit plantations have been affected by unseasonal rains.
According to a report put out by the Divisional Commissioner's office, rains in Marathwada on November 26-28 impacted 509 villages in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district, 75 in Parbhani, 15 in Jalna and 14 in Beed.
Two persons, on each in Hingoli and Beed districts, died in rain-related incidents in the region, said the report.
As many as 207 animals also perished in the region during rainfall with Jalna district recording the highest fatalities at 79, it said.
The highest rain-affected farmland was in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where crops on 46,202 hectares (including fruit plantations) were damaged. It was followed by Jalna (13,049 hectares), Parbhani (692.36 hectares) and Beed (215 hectares), the report said.
Source - https://www.theweek.in