The centre has reportedly approved the drought package for Jharkhand and the fund is expected to be released this week, officials said on Tuesday.(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
The centre has reportedly approved the drought package for Jharkhand and the fund is expected to be released this week, officials said on Tuesday.(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)

Unrest simmers among Jharkhand farmers over delay in drought compensation

Farmers alleged Central team assessed drought situation in Jharkhand in December but no official know when compensation amount would be given to them. Jharkhand’s 129 blocks declared drought-hit, 93 blocks severely affected
By Sanjoy Dey | Hindustan Times, Ranchi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 06, 2019 12:39 PM IST

RANCHI: Unrest is simmering among farmers in Jharkhand due to delay in release of compensation amount against the crop loss incurred during kharif season last year. Farmers said they were undergoing an acute crisis, as they face another drought-like situation in rabi season this year.

The state government declared 129 out of 264 blocks in Jharkhand as drought hit. As many as 93 blocks are severely affected by drought due to poor sowing during rainy season last year.

Three central teams assessed a drought situation in 21 blocks of seven districts from December 7 to December 9 last year. The teams accepted the state’s claim of major crop loss in the rainy season. The state has sought an assistance of Rs 818.93 crore from the entre to deal with the situation.

The centre has reportedly approved the drought package for Jharkhand and the fund is expected to be released this week, officials said on Tuesday.

“Two months have passed since the central team’s visit.We are still running from pillar to post for compensation against crop loss. No government official has any information regarding the delay,” said Nandu Viswakarma, a resident of Tibera village in Nawa Bazar block in Palamu district.

Viswakarma said he had sown paddy on four acres of land. “However, the output was merely 1.5 quintal. The government has announced Nawa Bazar block as drought hit but we are yet to get any compensation,” he said, adding, I have seven-member family and undergoing an acute financial crisis.

Union finance minister Piyush Goyal in the interim budget for 2019-20 proposed Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which a farmer with less than 2 hectares of landholding will get an annual incentive of Rs 6,000, to be paid in three equal instalments. The state government has already promised Rs 5,000 per acre to farmers having up to five acres of land.

Sahimsah said, “I have heard that the farmers who have their land records digitised will get the benefit of government’s incentives. If it is true, no farmers from the block will get the benefit, as land records of our lands are yet to be uploaded online.”

Poor sowing during the rabi season has resulted in additional woes for the farmers. Around 36% arable land, meant for rabi crops, are lying fallow. Against the target of 11.69 lakh hectares, sowing coverage of rabi crops was recorded in merely 7.58 lakh hectares of land. Sowing coverage for the rabi season in 2018 was 79%, around 20% above the current year.

Mukesh Sinha, deputy director at state agriculture department said, “Jharkhand’s proposal for drought package is under process with the centre. We hope funds would be released very soon.”

Ashok Kumar , special secretary at disaster management department said, “The data of farmers’ crop loss is being collected. They would be given compensation very soon.”

Jharkhand drought

Total drought affected blocks: 129

Severely drought hit blocks: 93

Jharkhand seeks from Centre: Rs 818.93 crore

Central teams visit Jharkhand: December 7 to December 9

EOM

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