Total cost of package is Rs. 2,143.6 crore

The disbursal of compensation to 1.75 lakh farmers in the Cauvery delta for crop loss is likely to commence this week.

An indication to this effect emerged after a two-hour-long meeting here on Saturday which was attended by a host of senior government officers and eight District Collectors from the delta region.

In the meeting, the government made it clear to the Collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Karur, Ariyalur and Cuddalore districts to expedite the disbursal.

Each farmer who had suffered over 50 per cent yield loss would get Rs. 15,000 per acre. A total of 3.61 lakh acres would be covered under the relief package, announced by Chief Minister Jayalaithaa in the Assembly on February 8.

This component alone would cost Rs. 541.5 crore to the government and along with others, the total cost of the package was Rs. 2,143.6 crore.

Detailed instructions were given at the meeting to the Collectors to translate the decision into action. The Collectors would ensure the completion of the disbursal, hopefully, in a few weeks, says an official. They would, through District Central Cooperative Banks, transfer the amounts to Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies and nodal bank branches of commercial banks for eventual disbursal to the farmers.

According to an order issued by the Revenue Department, the compensation amount would be credited to bank accounts of the farmers.

As loanee-farmers have bank accounts, the disbursal could begin in their case straightaway. In respect of those who had not taken crop loans and did not have bank accounts, a drive had been carried out to get bank accounts opened for them.

An undertaking would be obtained from the farmers that in the event of getting compensation from the farm insurance company for yield loss, they would adjust it towards the relief amount being given by the State government.

The order was clear that the State government’s compensation should not be adjusted towards the outstandings of the agriculturists’ crop loans.

As regards those suffering less than 50 per cent yield loss, the compensation would be provided by the insurance company to them. The State Agriculture Department had been directed to get the State government’s component sanctioned and provide it to the insurance company. Besides, for the purpose of ensuring speedy disbursal of relief to these farmers, the Agriculture Department would arrange for conducting crop cutting experiments soon.

The Additional Chief Secretary/Commissioner of Revenue Administration had been appointed nodal officer to implement the entire drought programme, the order adds.

Through another order of the Revenue Department, a committee, headed by Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam and consisting of Ministers for Electricity, Municipal Administration and Water Supply, Housing, Agriculture and Revenue, would go around non-delta districts [excluding Chennai] to assess the drought situation. The committee would also co-opt Ministers and officers concerning with the districts. On completion of this exercise, the department would prepare a comprehensive drought memorandum and send it to the Union government.

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