Farmers of Barmer district were first hit by drought, then unseasonal rainfall and now insensitive government relief norms which only help a small section of farmers, according to agriculture activists and experts.
The government norms allow only 90 days of relief work in the drought-hit areas and a compensation to the farmers who have suffered more than 50% loss in terms of crop damage due to untimely rain. Both the criteria have left many farmers without compensation.
According to the district crop assessment report, 1,416 villages in Barmer have been affected by the recent rain.
But, only 285 of them have suffered more than 50% damage of crops. Farmers in the remaining 1,131 villages are at sea since they would not get any compensation as per the existing criterion. Similar is the condition of villages hit by drought.
In October, the gover nment declared 1,425 villages as drought-hit and began the relief work.
The drought-like conditions still persist in many of these villages but the relief has stopped since it cannot continue for more than 90 days. This has resulted in localised protests at various places. Farmers want relief irrespective of the 90-day norm since their cattle are still dying and there hasn’t been any change in the drought.
Barmer sub-divisional officer (SDO) Mukesh Choudhary said the crop assessment report would be sent to the government for a rethink.
However, so far the compensation would only be paid where crop damage has been more than 50%. Khuman Singh Sodha, president of ' Seemant Go Raksha Samiti', claimed that in many bordering villages, livestock were still dying due to unavailability of water and fodder but the district authorities had stopped relief work.
Barmer is different from other districts due to many geographical changes and needs a different relief work approach to ensure maximum benefit to the target groups, said Dheeraj Sharma of Krishi Vigyan Kendra.