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Maharashtra seeks Rs200 crore aid for farmers who lost their crops to hailstorm

1,800 villages from 16 districts in state affected; farmers to get compensation as per NDRF norms

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2018 11:59 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai news,Maharashtra farmers
The Shelke family from Jalna district, Marathwada, lost 200 quintals of grapes on their one-­and-­a-­half acre field.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Farmers of the state have been badly hit, as the damage to crops due to the hailstorm and unseasonal rains has now reached around 2 lakh hectares of land in Marathwada and Vidarbha.

The state has also sought financial assistance of Rs200 crore from the Centre to compensate farmers for the losses. The numbers are likely to rise, as the state is still awaiting the final figures of the damage done. The affected farmers will get compensation as per the norms of National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), which states that farmers who cultivate crops on non-irrigated land will get compensation of Rs6,800 per hectare, up to two hectares, for damage due to natural calamities.

For irrigated land, they are entitled to get compensation of Rs13,500 per hectare, while for horticulture or perennial crops they get Rs18,000 per hectare, said Pandurang Fundkar, state agriculture minister.

“Hailstorm and untimely rains have hit the state badly, as crops on around 2 lakh hectares have been damaged as per the preliminary estimates. Maximum damage of 1.28 lakh hectares was done on February 11, the first of hailstorm and unseasonal rains. On February 12, it was around 60,000 hectares. We are still waiting for figures from some districts, as damage was also caused on February 13,” Fundkar said.

The natural calamity affected a total of 1,800 villages from 16 districts, of which a majority are from the Marathwada and Vidarbha region. The state is awaiting damage figures from around 10 districts, which is likely to be received by Thursday evening, the officials from agriculture department said.

Facing serious financial stress, the state has also asked for financial assistance from the central government to provide monetary relief to the farmers.

“The central government has been informed about the status of damage in the state due to hailstorm and unseasonal rains. We have sought Rs200 crore for providing financial relief to the farmers affected with crop damage,” Fundkar said.

The most-affected districts were Jalna (Marathwada), Buldhana and Amravati (Vidarbha), where crop damage was calculated as 32,000 hectares, 32,700 hectares and 26,598 hectares respectively, according to the preliminary estimates.

Meanwhile, state Congress has demanded monetary assistance of Rs50,000 per hectare to the affected farmers. State Congress president, Ashok Chavan, said, “Around 13,000 farmers have committed suicide since 2014. They are coming to Mantralaya, to commit suicide. The BJP government is doing nothing for them. This situation needs to be changed,” Chavan said.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 11:57 IST