Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS): The Congress on Tuesday demanded immediate aid for the lakhs of farmers reeling under the severe crop losses owing to the recent spell of unseasonal rains that lashed large parts of the state in the past few days.
State party President Nana Patole and Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar have called upon Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to disburse urgent assistance of Rs 25,000 per acre for non-irrigated crops and Rs 50,000/acre for irrigated crops as immediate relief to the farmers.
Wadettiwar told mediapersons that the standing crops on over 100,000-hectares have been razed due to the heavy rains and hailstorms that pounded many regions in the state, raising big questions on the viability of the Rabi crop season.
Similarly, in a letter to the Chief Minister, Patole pointed out that this year, the farmers have been at the receiving end of nature's fury, battling one crisis after another.
While the Kharif (monsoon) season was wiped off due to a prolonged dry spell, while the Rabi (winter) season is practically written off owing to the unseasonal downpour.
"Farmers in 17 of the 35 districts have lost an entire year of crops, with the worst hit being cotton, soybean, sugarcane, tur, onion, potato, maize, paddy, wheat, grapes, mango, pomegranate, papayapa, banana and orange, besides all types of vegetables," Patole said in the letter.
Wadettiwar pulled up the government accusing it of delays in declaring a "drought" in some parts of the state, but demanded that the regime should not prolong declaration of the current spell of losses in the interest of the farming community.
"The government is misleading by claiming it has sought Rs 2,500 crore as aid from the Centre. Then who is the guardian of the state farmers? The situation has come to a stage when the tillers are offering to sell off their body organs to rid themselves of loans/debts," said Wadettiwar sharply.
Patole and Wadettiwar also said that the crop insurance companies should expedite disbursal of compensation to the farmers on priority.
"While Rs 7,000 crore was given to crop insurance companies, the Agriculture Minister is saying that these companies will provide Rs 1,800-crore, then where is the remaining money going?" asked Wadettiwar.
The Congress leaders said the government should not "abandon" the farmers who are the life-givers to the nation and this is the time to extend a helping hand to them when they are facing a crisis of survival.