Punjab seeks Rs.717 crore compensation for farmers

” It contended that compensation under existing norms was too less and farmers would not be able to even sow the next crop, leave alone recover the cost of the standing crop damaged by the hailstorms, heavy rains and high velocity winds.”

Chandigarh, March 26(IANS) – The Punjab government has sought a comprehensive relief package, as special central assistance, of Rs.717 crore to compensate the state’s farmers for losses caused by damage to their standing rabi crops due to recent untimely rains and hailstorms.

In the letter to the central agriculture secretary, Punjab’s Commissioner (Agriculture) Balwinder Singh Sidhu has urged for grant of this compensation, a state government spokesman said here on Thursday.

This would not only encourage the farmers in this hour of crisis but would lead them to work harder for ensuring food security of the nation, Sidhu said in his letter.

The state government has pointed out that rain and hailstorms affected standing field crops in over 2.60 lakh hectares, fodder crops in nearly 24,000 hectares, and horticulture crops in over 10,000 hectares in the months of February-March.

In order to compensate the farmers for the losses suffered, a compensation at the rate of Rs.3,600 per acre was being provided by the state government due to high input cost incurred by the farmers and excessive damage to rabi crops. The compensation needs to be enhanced to Rs.10,000 per acre, the letter stated.

It contended that compensation under existing norms was too less and farmers would not be able to even sow the next crop, leave alone recover the cost of the standing crop damaged by the hailstorms, heavy rains and high velocity winds.

It was strongly felt that the farmers needed to be adequately compensated in this hour of crisis, the letter read.