As many as 19,951 villages in 114 tehsils of 23 districts in Madhya Pradesh have been declared drought-hit after a fresh review of scanty and erratic rainfall situation conducted by the state government on Friday.
Distribution of monetary compensation to farmers in drought-hit areas and other places facing crop damage would start after October 20 as an immediate relief measure, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced at a press conference.
While the CM did not mention any specific amount for the relief measure, sources said the compensation was likely to be in the range of Rs 1200-1500 crores.
The affected districts have put across demands of Rs 1650 crores for the purpose, a government statement said.
Chouhan said that damages have been reported on soybean and pulses (urad and mung) crops. According to preliminary survey, soybean had been sowed in 58 lakh hectares of land and damage has been reported in 18 lakh hectares of land.
The CM added that a detailed survey on the crop loss would be completed by October 20 and a memorandum of demand would be sent to the central government with demand for relief package.
Chouhan also announced other relief measures for the drought and erratic rain-hit farmers. He assured that Rs 515 crore worth of crop insurance claims for damage to Kharif crops of 2014 would be given to 4.25 lakh affected farmers within 15 days, while insurance claims with an estimated worth of Rs 300 crore for damage to Rabi crops in the year 2014-15 would be provided by November end.
He said attempts would be made to ensure that the crop insurance claim for the current losses reached the farmers by end of January 2016.
Short term loans of farmers facing over 50% crop losses would be converted to three-year mid-term loans and that for farmers with 33-50% losses, to two-year mid-term loans respectively.
Loan recovery would stand suspended and the interest amount for the extended loan period would be paid by the state government, the CM announced.
El Nino impact: Rabi crop management
The CM said tips would be issued to the farmers for Rabi crop management in light of drastic diurnal temperature differences due to El Nino effect, which had also impacted Kharif crops in last stages.
He said due to availability of adequate water in big reservoirs, sowing area of Rabi crops was likely to be almost the same as last year (28 lakh hectares).
Chouhan also said that during the last four to five years, soybean crop has suffered major losses and studies have shown that repetition of same crops over years makes them vulnerable to pests and disease.
Therefore, he said a task force of experts including Ashok Gulati, Punjab Singh, Gyanendra Singh and others has been constituted to provide tips for crop cycle alteration and other measures.