The state government will be conducting a survey along with the insurance companies to assess the damage to crops in over 44 talukas in 18 districts of the state where unseasonal rain caused due to cyclone Kyarr adversely impacted the farmers during the ongoing harvesting season.
“The areas and crops have been identified,” said Punamchand Parmar, additional chief secretary, agriculture, farmers welfare and cooperation department. He said about 44 talukas received more than one inch rainfall in the last three days, of which 10 talukas receive two inch and more rainfall which adversely affected the harvesting season.
“This is a harvesting season. We have advised the farmers who have insured their crops to call up the toll free number of the insurance companies and register their complaints… After that the insurance companies and officials of the agriculture department will conduct an on-site survey and assess the claims and decide on the quantum,” said Parmar adding that the department has informed the farmers through SMS about the steps they needed to take if they have suffered post-harvest losses due to the unseasonal rain. He said the complaints have to be made within 72 hours and the survey will be conducted 10 days after the complaints are received and the compensation will be paid within a 15 days of completion of this survey.
“For those farmers who have not opted for crop insurance, we have instructed the officials of the agriculture department to start the survey today. As per SDRF norms, we will provide the necessary relief depending on the loss assessment that is done,” the IAS official said.
The areas affected by the unseasonal rainfall include seven talukas of Surendranagar, five talukas of Kheda, four talukas each in Bharuch and Morbi, three talukas in Ahmedabad, Anand and Narmada, two talukas of Aravali, Navasari, Rajkot, Vadodara and Amreli, while one taluka each in Chotta Udepur, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Jungadh, Kutch and Valsad.
The officials said while most crops, including pulses and foodgrains, have been harvested, the department was “expecting losses in paddy where harvesting was at the fag end.” Similarly, losses are expected to groundnut and cotton crops.
This is the fourth survey of crop loss being done in Gujarat after June this year. Earlier, surveys of losses were conducted during July-August, first and last week of September. The department is expected to pay Rs 150 crore to farmers after these surveys. “The agriculture department has finished three surveys related to losses that have happened to crops during this period. The relief commissioner has been informed about the losses and he will be issuing the grant within next 10 days,” Parmar added.
Farmers in Rajkot, Tapi, Surat, Navsari, Dangs, Valsad, Dev Bhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Aravali and Kheda have to contact Reliance General Insurance Company; those in Amreli, Panchmahal, Bharuch, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Narmada, Morbi, Banaskantha, Surendranagar, Patan and Anand should contact Universal Sompo General Insurance Company; farmers in Jamnagar, Mahisagar, Dahod, Gir Somnath, Vadodara and Chotta Udepur should contact Bharti Axa General Insurance Company; while those in Junagadh, Ahmedabad, Botad, Sabarkantha and Kutch should call toll-free numbers of Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC).
When asked if there was a mechanism for the farmers to know if their complaints have been registered through the toll-free numbers, Parmar said the department will be discussing with the insurance companies to provide the necessary feedback to farmers about their complaints getting successfully registered. In event of the technical errors on this toll-free number, the local agricultural officials or the gram sevak has to be contacted, the official said.
Farmers in Amreli and Rajkot district complained of their harvested groundnut having been damaged by the unseasonal thunderstorm. “It rained when bunches of groundnut were lying on my field for sun-drying. It rained again when we had finished thrashing of my crop,” said Prakashsinh Khuman, a farmer in Mota Agariya village in Rajula taluka of Amreli district.
Khuman said that he received an SMS on Wednesday to report damage to his crop to the insurance company. “I will lodge a claim with the company now that I have received an alert,” he said.
But Nathubhai Kadivar, a farmer from Nasitapar village in Tankara taluka of Morbi district, said it would be difficult to assess the damage caused by the unseasonal rain. “The heavy rain two days ago has forced me to delay groundnut harvesting by at least a week as wet field won’t allow movement of men and machinery. But the groundnut shells which are ready for harvest will start sprouting due to delay in harvest. Should the survey team visit my farm now, they would find that my groundnut is good as they won’t be able to spot the sprouting. Similarly, the showers would cause flowers of cotton to fall after a few days. I am not sure the survey by the insurance companies and government will take these things into account,” said Kadinar.
In Wadhwan taluka of the neighbouring Surendranagar district, farmer Vajesang Dodiya said his cotton crop had been damaged almost completely. “The heavy unseasonal rain was accompanied by high-velocity wind. That made the rain even more damaging. My crop was not very good due to excessive rainfall throughout the monsoon and now the damage is such that no insurance coverage can compensate me for it. The government announcement of Rs 6,500 compensation per hectare may not cover even labour cost,” said Dodiya.
He added that he had not opted for crop insurance nor did he intend to apply for state government assistance. “It would involve requesting talati (village revenue clerk) and others to come to my farm and survey the damage. I don’t know how long it will take for the negligible compensation actually being paid to farmers after that,” he added.
Farmers’ body seeks compensation
A farmers body on Wednesday wrote a letter to the state government demanding compensation for the loss of crops suffered by them due to unseasonal rain the state received in the last few days. A copy of the letter sent to the Chief Minister by Khedut Samaj, Gujarat, is with the Indian Express.
In the letter, the farmers’ body mentioned that the farmers were happy to have got a good yield due to monsoon this year and they were ready for harvesting. However, the unseasonal rainfall in the last three days damaged the crops and its quality has gone down. “We have written to the state government urging it to carry out a survey and adequately compensate the farmers for their loss. The compensation amount announced by the government is quite less,” South Gujarat president of Khedut Samaj, Jayesh Delad said. Surat district agriculture officer with district Panchayat, K S Patel said, “As per instructions from the state government, we will carry out the survey.” — ENS