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Monday, December 06, 2021

Pink bollworm attack: Rs 416 crore aid for affected cotton growers in Punjab

This time, around 7.51 lakh acres of area was sown in the cotton belt and out of this, around 4 lakh acres had been damaged by the pink bollworm.

By: Express News Service | Jalandhar |
Updated: October 30, 2021 8:20:21 pm
PunjabThe cotton sowing season is currently underway in Punjab. (Express Photo)

To provide relief to farmers and labourers of the cotton belt, the Punjab government has announced the release of a grant of over Rs 416 crore to compensate them for crop damage due to pink bollworm attack.

The announcement was made by Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Aruna Chaudhary and Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha at a joint press conference here at Punjab Bhawan Saturday. Both Cabinet ministers said pink bollworm had caused severe damage to cotton crops in Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Barnala districts. They said 10 per cent of the compensation amount would be provided to cotton-picking workers as relief. The compensation amount will be sent to the accounts of deputy commissioners before Diwali and the district administration will directly transfer the aid in the bank accounts of farmers, they added.

Chaudhary and Nabha said the Punjab government and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi stand firmly by the farmers and every step would be taken for their welfare. They said the state government was committed to the welfare of all sections including workers and farmers.

This time, around 7.51 lakh acres of area was sown in the cotton belt and out of this, around 4 lakh acres had been damaged by the pink bollworm. The ministers said compensation was being paid at the rate of Rs 2,000 per acre for 26-32 per cent loss, Rs 5,400 per acre for 33-75 per cent loss and Rs 12,000 per acre for 76-100 per cent loss, which is the “highest ever amount”. Earlier, farmers were being paid Rs 8,000 per acre and pickers 5 per cent of the amount for crop failure.

According to the Cabinet ministers, 1,51,335 acres of crop in Mansa district has been damaged from 76-100 per cent, so Rs 181.60 crore is being released for this district. Similarly, in Sangrur, 145 acres suffered loss of 26-32 per cent, 3,693 acres 33-75 per cent and 180 acres 76 to 100 per cent loss and provision of Rs 2.24 crore has been made for this.

In Bathinda district, 683 acres have suffered loss of 26-32 per cent, 85 acres 33-75 per cent and 1,88,308 acres 76-100 per cent for which compensation of Rs 226.15 crore will be set aside for Bathinda. In Muktsar, 1,906 acres crop have been damaged 26-32 per cent, 7,922 acres 33-75 per cent and 50 acres 76-100 per cent for which Rs 4.72 crore is being released. Similarly, in Barnala district, 143 acres of cotton was damaged 26-32 per cent, 2,639 acres 33-75 per cent and 11 acres 76-100 per cent, and relief of Rs 1.46 crore will been provided to Barnala farmers. The ministers also said that out of this amount, 10 per cent relief would be provided to cotton picking workers.

Replying to a query regarding the damage caused to crops by the recent rains and hailstorms, Chaudhary said girdavari orders have been issued and as soon as the reports will be received from the deputy commissioners, steps will be taken for compensation. The deputy commissioners had been directed to send crop damage reports within a week.

Meanwhile, in reply to a question, Nabha said that state-of-the-art technology was being introduced by the government to prevent such losses.

Both ministers said that on November 8, a special session has been invited for debate on the agriculture laws and “unjustified extension” of BSF jurisdiction.

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