Rs 700-crore relief for rain-hit farmers in Gujarat

Piles of groundnut at the waterlogged yard of Rajkot APMC after rain on Tuesday. Unseasonal showers continued in Saurashtra and Kutch regions for the second consecutive day Wednesday. IMD said that light to moderate rainfall/thundershowers will continue at isolated places in the state till Friday. (Express Photo)

The state Government Wednesday declared financial package of Rs 700 crore for farmers who have sustained crop loss due to recent unseasonal rain in most part of the state. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that a decision in this regard was taken by the Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

Patel said this year due to very good monsoon, the state government was expecting bumper crops, however, due to recent unseasonal rain, many farmers sustained loss of crops which were either harvested or ready for harvest. The agriculture department launched a survey to ascertain the loss sustained by the farmers, Patel added. The survey covered more than 5 lakh hectare land parcels of over 4 lakh farmers and all of them are going to get benefited by the package, Patel added. The survey is almost over. According to Patel, as per the norms of Calamity Relief Fund of the Central Government, on getting damage of 33% or more on the crop, farmers get Rs 13,500 per hectare on irrigated crop and Rs 6,800 per hectare on non-irrigated crop from the State Disaster Relief Fund. In this, 75% share is borne by the Central government and 25% by the state government.

In cases where the farmers have sustained loss less than 33%, the entire financial burden will be borne by the state government, Patel added. There are around 2 lakh farmers who have sustained damage over 33% whereas equal number of farmers have sustained damage below 33%.

The Deputy CM also said the financial package is a relief to the farmers in addition to whatever amount they get from the crop insurance claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. He added that so far 1.90 lakh farmers have submitted crop claims.

Due to the unseasonal rain, the state government halted procurement of groundnut at Minimum Support Price (MSP). The procurement will resume on November 18, Patel said.

Replying to a question regarding Congress staging protests, Patel said the party was unsuccessfully misleading the farmers. He stated that neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, where Congress is in power, also received unseasonal rain, but the Congress government has not given any financial relief to farmers, he added.