Chandigarh : Concerned over the “major losses” caused to crops due to recent rains in the region, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for upward revision of the compensation to the affected farmers at a rate of Rs 10,000 per acre. In separate letters to the Prime Minister and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Badal apprised them of the agony and pain of a large number of farmers who have suffered heavy losses due to sudden and erratic changes in weather.
He said that Punjab and its neighbouring states have experienced widespread rains over the past few days and that the average rainfall was about 42 cms on March 1 and 2, according to an official statement here. Badal said that although rains at this point of time should be good for the standing wheat and other Rabi crops but unfortunately intensity and frequency of rains coupled with high velocity winds and hailstorms have caused substantial damage to the crops and impaired livelihood of a large number of farmers, it said.
The Chief Minister apprised both the leaders that initial reports indicated that cultivated area of over 7 lakh acres has been affected and the damage was much higher in the case of vegetables and other horticulture crops. He said that at this stage Rabi crops for this year were almost ready for a good harvesting season and the farmers have now incurred almost full input cost in raising these crops.
Badal bemoaned that in cases where farmers would not be able to harvest or their crops yield was reduced, they were likely to lose nearly a full season and resultantly suffer serious damage to their livelihood. Flagging up the case of giving due compensation to these farmers, the Chief Minister underscored the need of fully compensating them not only for their input costs but also for loss of their livelihood to enable and prepare them for sowing of Kharif crops of next year.
He said that in order to effectively compensate the affected farmers, the relief norms need to be adequate and that the present norm of Rs 3,600 per acre for 100 per cent loss was too inadequate as it does not even provide for the input cost of farmers. “We need to ensure compensation for some minimum possible cost of living also to make up for the loss of livelihood to the farmers,” Badal said.
The Chief Minister urged Modi to duly compensate the farmers whose standing crops have been affected due to recent heavy rains coupled with high velocity winds and hailstorms. He also requested the Prime Minister to ask the Union Ministry of Agriculture to revise the existing norms to provide for a minimum compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre to the affected farmers.