Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu in Gandhinagar on Monday announced that the centre will decide on relaxing guidelines to pay compensation to farmers who sustained 25 per cent to 50 percent damage to their crops.
Following the demands of affected farmers and the opposition Congress, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had announced relaxation in crop damage scheme for farmers.
She announced that farmers would be given Rs 4,500 and Rs 7,500 per hectare subsidy for non-irrigated and irrigated lands respectively.
State Agriculture Minister Babu Bokhiria said, “The state government had already taken a policy decision on relaxing norms for paying compensation to farmers this time. So this is now a matter of where the fund will come from. If the Centre gives nod for the same, then it will provide the additional fund. Otherwise, Gujarat Government will bear the additional expenses.”
Patel had announced a special package to cover crop damage from 25 to 50 per cent on March 26. As per the set guidelines, farmers who sustained more than 50 per cent or above damage to their crops are eligible for compensation.
Patel’s announcement came a day after state Chief Secretary D J Pandian had made a similar representation during a video-conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Project Pragati ‘ initiative to assess development of various projects through communication with senior state and central officers.
In a meeting with CM and other senior state officials, Naidu took stock of the situation, an official release said.
Officials of the state government gave a detailed presentation to Naidu about crop damage. As per the initial evaluation by the state government, crops in 1.80 lakh hectares across 24 districts have been damaged due to the unseasonal rains.
“The Prime Minister has asked senior ministers to visit states where crops have been affected in the recent unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm. I have come to Gujarat to take a first hand report,” said Naidu.
A high-level committee of the union ministers will assess overall situation and will decide about aid to be provided, he added. Patel had written to the PM and appealed to him to relax norms of calamity relief fund and provide assistance even where the damage was up to 25-50 per cent, said the release.
Patel had assured the assembly on March 26, “After collecting data on crop damages, a special committee has recommended that farmers who sustained 25 per cent or above damage to their crops should be given financial assistance. According to the rule, in case of unseasonal rains if crop losses are more than 50 per cent, then farmers would be eligible for relief.”
“However, as a special case, we have decided to give financial assistance to all those farmers who have suffered losses of more then 25 per cent,” Patel added.
Earlier, the Congress has walked out from the ongoing Budget Session thrice over the issue of demanding adequate compensation to affected farmers.
(With PTI inputs)