The Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Monday said that there is no need for any special “package” for rain- ravaged Vidarbha but promised that all possible help would be provided to the farmers and the State government to deal with the crisis.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Pawar, who was on a three-day inspection tour of flood-affected Vidarbha said, “Some areas have been badly damaged. At some places, crop were washed away but in some parts,land was completely eroded by heavy rains. I am not here to declare any package. But our policy is to help farmers in times of crisis,” he said.

“Until a complete survey is done, the actual damage will not be known, but around 15 lakh hectares of crop has been damaged. A central team was here to inspect the damage. Once it submits its report, the high-level central committee concerned with this issue will meet and take a decision on the financial assistance to be provided to the State,” added Mr. Pawar.

Mr. Pawar also said that apart from crops, roads and private property also suffered damage due to heavy rains.

On the proposal of an agriculture land ceiling, Mr. Pawar denied that the central government had taken any decision and said the final decision would be taken by the concerned State governments.

On the food security bill, the Union agriculture minister said, “Seventy four per cent children of this country does not get sufficient food. The food security bill will support them. But to fulfil food needs of the country, we will have to look for alternatives including genetically-modified technology”.

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