Special Correspondent

Government decides to give Rs.7,500 for loss of each hectare of paddy crop

Paddy crop on 47,257 hectares damaged in rain

Next of kin of the dead given Rs.1 lakh each

CHENNAI: The State government has decided to give Rs.7,500 as compensation for loss of each hectare of paddy crop, Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin informed the Assembly on Wednesday. This is Rs.3,500 more than the Centre-specified norm of Rs.4,000 per hectare.

The government will foot the additional Rs.3,500 per hectare. It has also relaxed the clause that the compensation can only be claimed for 2 acres per farmer. Now a farmer will be compensated for the full extent of his loss.

Paddy crop on 47,257 hectares was damaged in the rain. Standing crop on 4.3 lakh hectares (10.6 lakh acres) has been damaged. On other crops, he said if the damage was over 50 per cent, then Rs.2,000 would be given per acre of crop lost. If this crop was in an irrigated area, then the compensation would be Rs.4,000 per acre. Loss of permanent crop such as mango and tamarind would be compensated with Rs.6,000 per acre.

Elaborating on the extent of loss, Mr. Stalin said till March 24, 24 persons were killed and 804 head of cattle washed away in the rain. He said 3097 villages were affected and severe water logging was reported in 77 villages. The affected, numbering 10278, were moved to 41 relief centres. A total of 5782 huts were damaged. Roads in many areas, totalling 9863 km and 945 bridges were damaged. The next of kin of the dead were given Rs.1 lakh each. In the case of cattle, as per the norms of the Centre, Rs.10,000 was given to owners of animals such as cow, ox, buffalo; Rs.5,000 for calf, and Rs.1,000 to owners of goats. The State government has decided to remove the ceiling imposed in this case too and would compensate the owners of all perished cattle, Mr. Stalin said.

The government would also give Rs.2,000 to owners of each fully damaged hut for rebuilding. They would also be given 5 kg rice, one litre kerosene and a dhoti and a sari. Owners of partially damaged huts would be given Rs.1,000.

Earlier, the question hour was suspended for the discussion on rain-related damage. Representatives of all political parties impressed upon the government to enhance the compensation for farmers. They also expressed concern over the Centre not releasing money for December’s rain damage. While all political parties concentrated on the immediate need for compensation, G.K. Mani (Pattali Makkal Katchi) wanted the government to set up a new fund to immediately to cater to such extreme weather events.