Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari announced Saturday financial assistance to farmers reeling under massive crop loss due to unseasonal rainfall in the state in October and November and ordered its immediate disbursal.
An official statement issued by Raj Bhawan said, “A relief of Rs 8,000 per hectare (ha) up to two hectares for agricultural Kharif crop and Rs 18,000 per hectare up to two hectares for horticulture/perennial crop would be sanctioned to farmers.”
“The Governor has also announced exemptions of land revenue to the affected area and examination fee of school and colleges to the wards of affected farmers,” it said. The governor also directed the state administration to disburse the relief immediately, it added.
With unseasonal rain leaving a trail of destruction across Maharashtra, the state administration Friday pegged the damage to standing crop on 93.89 lakh hectares of farmland across the state. Around 1.04 crore farmers have suffered losses.
On November 2, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government had approved Rs 10,000 crore as special assistance for affected farmers. Officials, however, said panchnamas being conducted to assess the extent of crop damage were slow amid the continuing uncertainty over government formation. Maharashtra has been under President’s Rule since November 12.
Fadnavis had met Koshyari on Friday and requested him to announce immediate financial assistance to farmers affected by crop loss. The quantum of compensation, however, has been criticised by the Congress and the Shiv Sena.
“The assistance declared by the Governor to farmers, who had been waiting for days for some relief, is abysmal. We are going to request the Governor to raise this amount because it is not sufficient,” state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said.
The Shiv Sena, too, criticised the move and said that it would hold a demonstration to ensure better relief for farmers. “The Rs 8,000 per hectare up to two hectares compensation is abysmal. We had been seeking a minimum compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare for farmers. If our demands are not met, we will agitate,” Sena MLA from Jalgaon (Rural) Gulabrao Patil said.
Leaders from the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena were set to meet the Governor to discuss crop loss on Saturday. The meeting, however, was called off.
A source in Congress said, “Many leaders representing the Congress, NCP and Sena were not available as they had to file the election expenditure returns. Since many leaders were in their respective constituencies, they called off the meeting.”
Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader said, “At this stage, if the three parties went to meet the Governor, it would have given an impression that we have come together to form the government. As of now, major issues remain unresolved. The Congress high command is yet to give nod to the alliance.”