The Agriculture Insurance Corporation of India (AICI) released Rs 205 crore as crop insurance for farmers hit by the Neelam cyclone in West Godavari district. With this, the cyclone-hit farmers will shortly receive the insurance amount after a year-long agonizing wait.

Widespread damage

The cyclone devastated the standing paddy crop in 2.5 lakh ha in the district, affecting 2.75 lakh farmers. The AICI extended the coverage to the crops which were damaged to the extent of more than 50 per cent. As per the guidelines, around 1.42 lakh farmers were entitled to receive the insurance coverage.

The AICI introduced the Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme for the kharif 2012 in Krishna, East and West Godavari districts on a pilot basis, bringing paddy and sugarcane crops under coverage.

Request to banks

Speaking at a meeting with bankers and officials from the Agriculture Department, Collector Siddharth Jain on Saturday highlighted the need to transfer the insurance amounts to the bank accounts of the affected farmers before Dasara. He requested the bankers to take the necessary measures to ensure that the succour reached the needy before the stated timeline.

However, the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham district president B. Balaram described the AICI’s measure as ‘eye-wash’.

When the enumeration undertaken by the Agriculture Department revealed that 2.75 lakh farmers were badly hit by the cyclone, only 1.42 lakh of them were covered.

This poor coverage was evidence of the indifferent measures of the insurance company, Mr. Balaram said.