The state government on Wednesday announced Rs 200 crore compensation for crop loss caused due to unseasonal hailstorm in parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. Although details of crop loss from 10 more districts are awaited, the government has written to the Centre to provide financial help under the National Disaster Relief Funds. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who reviewed the damage, discussed short-term and long-term measures to tackle challenges in the agriculture sector due to climatic conditions.
In the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Fadnavis directed the agriculture and revenue ministries to provide all help to farmers on a war footing, in terms of finance and logistics, to tide over crop damage. The report from 16 districts covering 61 talukas and 1,219 villages shows that crop loss due to hailstorm is spread across 1.27 lakh hectares. The report was based on the hailstorm impact caused on the first day. Subsequent hailstorm over the next two days affected 60,000 hectares. Reports are awaited from districts of Buldhana, Nanded, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Wardha, where assessment is still on.
The chief minister said at the cabinet meeting that “climate resilient sustainable agriculture is a big challenge and we have to prepare a long-term mechanism to tackle crop loss and its adverse impact on farmers.” He also assured that the state government is committed to extending all help to farmers to cope with crop loss. To ensure accurate assessment of crop loss across difficult terrain, the government will use drones for crop mapping. The Skymat has taken up the project. The first pilot project will be in Buldhana district in Vidarbha.
Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar said, “The compensation to farmers would be given as per NDRF norms for crops and fruits. The farmers who have crop insurance (weather based) would get Rs 23,300 per hectare for sweet lime and oranges, Rs 40,000 per hectare for banana, Rs 36,700 per hectare for mango and Rs 20,000 per hectare for lemon. Farmers who don’t have insurance would also get compensation based on NDRF norms of Rs 18,000 per hectare.”
Compensation for rabi crops such as jowar, wheat, harbara and sunflower specially cultivated in Vidarbha and Marathwada in non-irrigated land would be Rs 6,800 per hectare. Compensation for these crops on irrigated land would be Rs 13,500 per hectare, he said. The compensation has been arrived at by keeping crop category and area covered in mind. However, the government has indicated that if required it would shell out more funds to help farmers.