On Friday, October 23, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a package of Rs 10,000 crore for the state's rain affected regions - Konkan, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra. He added that more help will follow soon, and the current package aims at providing immediate relief to the affected farmers, while saying that this is highest such financial package to be given to farmers in recent times.
Under this relief, farmers cultivating foodgrain crops will get Rs 10,000 per hectare. The limit of land will be two hectares i.e. seven acre per farmer. While those engaged in horticulture will get Rs 25,000 per hectare. In this case too, the limit of land is 2 hectares. The state government will also provide compensation to the relatives of those who have lost their lives, as well those who have lost cattle and houses.
Further, Rs 2,635 crore have been assigned for bridges and roads, civic local bodies will get Rs 300 crore, power distribution Rs 239 crore, Rs 102 crore for irrigation, Rs 1,000 crore for rural roads and water supply, and agriculture and home building have been assigned Rs 5,500 crore. This totals to Rs 9,776 crore.
"We want to give confidence to farmers as well as people of the state that the government will share their burden and pain. It is our responsibility to help in this condition and we will shoulder it honestly," said CM Thackeray in his press conference.
However, currently there is no clarity over how this amount is to be raised even as the state coffers are empty and the government has been forced to borrow for clearing the salary bills of its employees.
The farmers too are not satisfied with the compensation package, as the losses faced by them are much higher. The agricultural economy is set for a further slowdown, even as it has not recovered from the effect of the countrywide lockdown due to the pandemic.
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Sudarshan Tiwale, a paddy grower from Tala tehsil of Raigad district, said that his 2.5 acre of paddy field was under water for three days. "My losses will be more than Rs 70,000. Plus, the investment was atleast Rs 30,000. So, I would lose Rs 1 lakh and get compensation of Rs 10,000 only," he said, adding that the state government should force insurance companies under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to release the claimed money and that too immediately.
All India Kisan Sabha leader Dr Ajit Nawale too said that the relief package is too less. "We were demanding Rs 50,000 per acre. If not, the state government should have given this amount at least per hectare, so that the farmers could have utilised the money for the rabi season," he said.
Meanwhile, farmer leader Raju Shetti said that there is no provision for agricultural workers in the package. "The agricultural workers are the most neglected section of agriculture. Now their employment is gone. They will be without work. But the state government hasn't done anything for them," he said.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis too criticised the government’s financial package as meagre.
The work of panchanama of losses of farmers has been completed upto 80%. Even though the state government has not made the calculations of losses public, sources in the Relief and Compensation Department told NewsClick that the losses could go up to Rs 35,000 crore. "In some districts like Latur, Osmanabad, Beed and Solapur, nearly 80% crops suffered damage. Soyabean, Jwari, Corn, some pulses have been complete washed away," the concerned officer said.