K’taka govt to pay crop loss compensation of up to Rs 2,000 per farmer, as immediate relief

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said with the Centre delaying drought relief, the state government has decided to pay the first instalment of crop loss compensation, of up to Rs 2,000 per farmer, as immediate relief.

He said the amount will be paid to eligible farmers in four to five days after getting data from the district and taluk level.

The Karnataka government has declared 223 out of the total 236 taluks in the state as drought hit.

“As the Centre has delayed releasing drought relief, the state government has decided to give crop loss compensation of up to Rs 2,000 per farmer, as a first instalment, as immediate relief, to eligible farmers. The process will begin probably in four to five days,” Siddaramaiah said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, “Out of the total relief that a farmer is entitled to, now up to Rs 2,000 will be paid by the state government, and once the Central relief comes, the balance amount will be paid to the farmer.” Noting that a minimum of Rs 1,000 will be paid to a farmer, Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda clarified that, “some farmers may have just half acre, and would not be eligible for Rs 2,000 compensation. So, based on the extent of the land holding of a farmer, the amount will be paid.” Implementation will be worked out in four-five days, after getting a report from the Deputy Commissioners of districts, regarding eligible farmers, he added.

Pointing out that the state has witnessed a crop loss in estimated 48.19 lakh hectares, the Chief Minister said, the state has sought a financial relief of Rs 18,171.44 crore as per NDRF norms from the Centre, and the crop loss compensation sought is to the tune of over Rs 4,663 crore.

The state had submitted the memorandum to the Centre seeking drought relief on September 21, and subsequently the Central team visited the state between October 4-9, he said, despite the central team submitting the report to the Union government, the High Level Committee of Central Ministers chaired by Union Home Minister has not met yet.

Alleging that the Central Ministers did not even give an appointment to Ministers from the state for a meeting seeking relief, and Karnataka Ministers had to meet Union Home and Agriculture Secretaries as Ministers were not available during their visit to Delhi, the CM said our Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Agriculture Minister Cheluvarayaswamy were finally able to meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and seek relief.

“But, till today they (HLC) have not held any meeting and have not provided any relief,” he said.

The CM further listed out that the per hectare crop loss compensation fixed by the Central government is — Rs 8,500 for rain fed, while for irrigated is Rs 17,000, and for perennial crops it is Rs 22,500, and highlighted that how much the landholding of a farmer could be, compensation will be given only up to 2 hectares, with is about 5 acres.

Pointing out that he had on Saturday written to the Union Home Minister seeking an appointment and stating that he would meet him to discuss drought relief, Siddaramaiah said till now there was no response.

He said, for sowing failure and mid season adversity for 6.5 lakh farmers, the state government has released Rs 460 crore, along with that for drinking water, fodder and employment to people Rs 325 crore has been released by his government, while Rs 780 crore is the ‘PD accounts’ of the Deputy Commissioners of the district, which they had been releasing as per needs.

The state has also decided to increase the employment days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from 100 days to 150 days in view of severe drought prevailing in the State, and has written to the Centre in this regard, but the Central government has not yet given permission for this, the CM added.

Claiming that the state government has decided to give up to Rs 2,000 as immediate relief to farmers, with an intention to help them, and not under opposition’s pressure or fearing possible attacks from them on the issue, during the upcoming Assembly session, Siddaramaiah hit out at the BJP and its 25 MPs from the state for not getting enough in getting Central relief.