Agri Business

Rain-hit Haryana farmers unlikely to get insurance

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on July 28, 2019

Farmers in many villages in Pehowa tehsil in Kurukshetra district lost their newly planted rice crop as water remained in the field for nearly 8- 9 days

Simran Sandhu

Flagship crop insurance scheme does not cover damage caused by floods to rice plants

Heavy rainfall this past week has destroyed recently planted rice crops in many villages in Ambala, Karnal and Kurukshetra districts in Haryana, leading to the affected farmers clamouring for claims under the crop insurance scheme.

Even though the inundation caused by heavy rains, which lasted more than a week, resulted in rotting of freshly transplanted rice seedlings, farmers are unlikely to get any insurance benefit as the revised operational guidelines of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana excluded inundation from claims for crops such as rice, sugarcane and jute.

Premium payment

Farmers in Haryana have to pay ₹630 per acre — which is 2 per cent of the total premium — for insuring their 2019 kharif rice crop, with the State and Central governments paying the rest 98 per cent of the premium. The cut-off date forpayment in Haryana is July 31.

“Farmers in many villages in Pehowa tehsil in Kurukshetra district lost freshly planted rice crop as water remained in the field for nearly 8-9 days. Crops in thousands of acres have been destroyed,” said Simran Sandhu, a 27-year-old farmer from Mohanpur village, about 10 kms from Pehowa town. His crop in four acres out of the total of 15 acres was destroyed in the waterlogging.

Rice seedlings

Kulwant Singh, a 55-year-old farmer who owns the farm next to Sandhu’s, lost the crop in three acres of land. They said replanting is the only choice left now. “We have spent around ₹15,000-₹20,000 per acre for buying rice seedlings. Now, we have to buy them all over again for replanting. The suppliers have already increased the price as they smell an opportunity to make a profit,” Sandhu said. Rajinder Singh, a former agricultural extension officer in Karnal district, said while freshly transplanted rice crop can withstand waterlogging for 3-4 days, they start to rot if the standing water stays for longer. While he was not aware of this particular incident, there have been complaints of inundation coming from many villages in his district.

This is particularly because developmental works, redevelopment and widening of roads block natural flow of water after heavy precipitation, he said.

State Agriculture Department officials said many areas in the State witnessed a heavy rainfall recently. When asked whether they have received any complaints regarding the crop destruction, a senior official said farmers, whose rice crop has been destroyed by waterlogging, will not get the claim, unless the inundation clause in the operational guidelines of PMFBY was overruled by the Centre. One option, he said, farmers have is that they can replant their farm with maize instead of rice. “If they are willing to do so, the State can give the input cost. At the same time, if there are farmers, who have not been able to grow anything due to waterlogging, they will be given compensation according to the crop insurance scheme, the official said. Sandhu, however, said maize is not an option as it being a highland crop may not grow well in their farms which have poor water drainage facilities.

According to a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha recently, nearly 62,732 farmers in Kurukeshtra district have enrolled for PMFBY in 2018-19 and there are about 21,800 admissible claims under the scheme.

In Kurkushetra district, 62,732 farmers applicants were covered under PMFBY and 21,791 eligible insured farmers got admissible claims during this period.

Published on July 28, 2019

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