WB Govt announces relief of Rs 69 crore to farmers who have suffered crop damage

West Bengal Government announced a relief of Rs 69 crore to farmers who have suffered crop damage between February and April.

The State Government in a statement informed that severe hailstorm and rains caused damage to different crops to the tune of Rs 903 crore in most of the districts in the state during the second week fortnight of February and 1st week of April, 2015. The cropped area got affected is 33 per cent totalling 50,600 hectares.

Concerned about the farmers, the State Government will be disbursing Rs 69 crore under State Disaster Response Fund and the same will be offered to eligible farmers. The financial assistance will be Rs 1,800 per bigha (Rs 13,500 per hectare) for irrigated areas while for perennial crop area will be Rs 2,400 per bigha (Rs 18,000 per hectare). The Directorate of agriculture has been entrusted with the task of chalking out the disbursing plan to the affected farmers.

The West Bengal government also urged the Centre to either waive or reduce loans taken by potato farmers from different banks, as they were forced to make distress sales of their produce because of bumper crops this year.

“In a letter, we have urged the Centre to either waive or reduce loans taken by the potato farmers, as they are forced to make distress sales of their produce. We had written earlier too in this regard,” State Agriculture Minister Mr Purnendu Bose said.

After a meeting of the Task Force on Market Price, convened by the Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee, Mr Bose said that the letter had been taken to reduce the burden of the affected farmers.

The state had produced 1.15 crore tonnes of potato this year against the state’s demand of 55 to 60 lakh tonnes for consumption, The agriculture minister said.

In a separate letter, the state government has also demanded a compensation of Rs 70 crore from the Centre for the damage of crops over 50,596 hectares of land in 15 districts in hailstorm, Mr Bose said.
“If the compensation is sanctioned, it will be distributed among the affected districts through Disaster Management department.

The state government is also considering to enhance transport subsidy further for export of potato to other states.

“Already five lakh tonnes of potato have been sent to other states. Besides, the state government has purchased 50,000 tonnes of potato directly from the farmers for mid-day meals and to meet the needs of the ICDS,” the agriculture minister said.

Stating that the production of mango was likely to be up to the expectation, Mr Bose said that transport subsidy would also be given to mango exporters.  To reduce the price of eggs, the state government has also waived one per cent levy on poultry feed, he said.