Govt will pay Rs 2,000, Rs 2,750 and Rs 9,600 per acre for damage upto 33%, 75% &100%, respectively, to farmers
The Punjab Cabinet on Friday put its stamp on 25 per cent hike in compensation for crop loss due to untimely rains with the government saying that the money will reach the affected farmers before Baisakhi in mid April.
The council of ministers, in a meeting chaired bu Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, approved the government decision to enhance the relief amount from Rs 12,000 per acre to Rs 15,000 per acre for 75 to 100 per cent crop loss.
“This measure will give a healing touch to the affected farmers who will be able to get a reasonable financial relief by Baisakhi. The relief rate will be applicable from March 1,” Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said after the meeting.
Dhaliwal said that already a six-month moratorium on loan taken by farmers from cooperative banks has been announced.
Untimely rain accompanied by hail and high-velocity winds in the recent past have caused damage to wheat in several parts of the state.
Earlier, after announcing a special girdawari of the damaged crop, Mann had enhanced the compensation for farmers. The state exchequer will now have to pay Rs 2,000, Rs 2,750 and Rs 9,600 per acre for damage upto 33 per cent, 75 per cent, and 100 per cent, respectively to farmers.
Prior to this, the state used to pay Rs 2,000 per acre for 26 to 33 per cent damage. Now, the CM has announced to extend the benefit to those farmers too whose crops have suffered 20 per cent damage.
To farmers, whose 33 to 75 per cent crop has been damaged, the government would be paying Rs 6750 per acre. Earlier it was Rs 5,400 acre acre. While Rs 4,000 would come from state disaster response fund (SDRF), funded by the Government of India, Rs 2750 would be paid by the state. Earlier, the state only had to pay Rs 1,400 per acre.
For the damage between 75 per cent to 100 per cent, the farmers will be given a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre, out of which Rs 9,600 would be paid by the state while Rs 5400 will be paid by the Centre. Earlier, the compensation was Rs 12,000 out of which Rs 6,600 was paid by the state.
The council of ministers also gave approval for hiring 2,574 ‘Kisan Mitras’ and 108 field supervisors in the agriculture department. These ‘Kisan Mitras’ and field supervisors will encourage the farmers to get out of the wheat-paddy circle and cultivate less water guzzling crops like cotton and basmati rice. This step will act as a catalyst to save precious groundwater of the state by boosting crop diversification programme on one hand and providing employment to the youth of the state on the other, said the statement.
The Cabinet also gave its nod for enactment of the Punjab Canal and Drainage Act-2023 to regulate and manage canals and drainage in the state.
The main objective of this Act is to ensure hindrance-free canal water to farmers and land owners for irrigation purposes, maintenance, repair and timely cleanliness of canals, drainage and natural water courses, it said. Apart from this, the Act will also provide a fair and transparent mechanism for redressal of grievances of water users and other regulatory restrictions against unnecessary wastage of water, it added.
At present, the activities relating to irrigation, navigation and drainages in the state are regulated by the British era legislation the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act-1873. With the passage of time and re-organisation of the state, a number of provisions contained in the said Act have become outlived.