Govt. to pay relief for crop loss

BANGALORE, JAN. 31. The Agriculture Minister, T. B. Jayachandra, today said the Government was thinking of paying Rs. 5 crore as compensation for crop lost owing to hailstorm during the recent off-season rains in seven districts.

The minister told presspersons that 38,669 hectares of land was affected with Gulbarga accounting for the maximum damage. In all, 18,201 hectares in Gulbarga, 12,590 hectares in Bidar, 5,901 hectares in Raichur, 1,024 hectares in Bijapur, 774 hectares in Koppal, 143 hectares in Tumkur and 34.48 hectares in Chitradurga districts were affected. Aland taluk in Gulbarga District bore the brunt.

He said it had been decided to pay a compensation of Rs. 1,000 per hectare for dry land and Rs. 2,500 per hectare for irrigated areas and Rs. 4,500 per hectare if the damage was permanent from the Calamity Relief Fund.

The compensation was applicable to both agricultural and horticultural crops. The Agriculture Department had estimated the loss at Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 30 crore but a joint inspection would be made by it as well as by the Revenue Department to arrive at a final figure.

Mr. Jayachandra said the land revenue collections would be suspended in the affected villages for six months. The Agriculture Department would expedite settlement of insurance claims of the affected farmers in eligible cases.

Meanwhile, the department procured 3.59 lakh quintals of copra worth Rs. 120 crore in the past two months. Procurement centres for maize, ragi, paddy, and bajra had been opened at the following districts: six centres in Haveri, five in Bagalkot, four in Kolar, three in Belgaum, four in Koppal, seven in Mysore, one in Chamarajangar, four in Shimoga, one in Madikeri, four in Davanagere, one in Chitradurga, five in Bangalore Rural, five in Mandya, five in Tumkur, three in Raichur and two in Arasikere.

He said that 1,63,000 quintals of maize, 12,000 quintals of ragi, and 15,000 quintals of groundnut had been procured. But the price of toor dal was higher than the minimum support price and it was not being procured. While the open market price for toor dal was Rs. 1,500, the minimum support price was Rs. 1,320.

Mr. Jayachandra said the levy target for paddy had been raised to two lakh quintals as against one lakh quintals last year. The Government was paying Rs. 65 crore out of the Rs. 125-crore revolving fund, which the Centre had to replenish.

The minister said the Government had decided to establish Toor Board. A Cabinet Sub-Committee, including the Home Minister, Mallikarjuna Kharge, the Public Works Minister, Dharam Singh, and others would meet shortly to discuss framing the guidelines for the functioning of the board, he added.

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