KARNATAKA

A big relief for farmers

HUBLI Dec. 24. The announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, H.K. Patil, that crop insurance amount would be released to farmers by the end of the first week of January, has come as a relief for farmers who have been suffering from the effects of drought.

This has been the first-ever meaningful gesture of the Krishna Government to farmers since their travails began three years ago.

It started with the crash in prices and the situation was compounded by the failure of rains. The crop insurance touted as a welcome relief to farmers, who had suffered crop losses, had been a mirage of sorts all these days.

Available for specific crops, the scheme had caused a lot of confusion.

There was confusion over the procedural formalities to be followed and matters were compounded by reports that the failure on the part of the State Government in providing its share of contribution, was among the factors responsible for the delay in disbursing the amount.

During his interaction with farmers in Gadag district the one point that cropped up repeatedly was the delay in settling the claims of farmers for insurance.

The claims for insurance for the kharif season is to be settled by the first week of January.

Mr. Patil told that the General Insurance Company's order sanctioning the amount was expected to be issued any time now and that the State Government would not lag behind in remitting its share of the contribution for the purpose. Instructions were being issued to ensure that the amount released by the GIC was transferred to the accounts of the farmers before December 31, he said.

As for the rabi season, the controversial order passed by the Government, which was coming the way of completion of formalities by farmers, has been withdrawn.

The Government had paid heed to the demand of farmers for making the gram panchayat as a unit instead of the taluk for the purpose of insurance claims on crop losses.

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