Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP Revanth Reddy on Friday demanded that the State Government immediately pay compensation to the farmers who lost their crops due to unseasonal rains and insect attacks.
Revanth Reddy, in an open letter to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, demanded that the chilli farmers who lost their crops be paid a compensation of Rs. 50,000 per acre while other farmers should be given a compensation of Rs. 25,000 per acre. Stating that several farmers have committed suicide after they lost their crops, he demanded that their families be paid an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh each.
The TPCC Chief said that crops spread across 25 lakh acres of land worth nearly Rs. 8,633 crore were lost in Telangana State due to the recent unseasonal rains and insect attack. When the Chief Minister announced that he would visit the affected areas in Warangal for inspection, the farmers had developed hopes of getting some relief. However, CM KCR canceled the visit and instead sent a team of ministers and officials to the undivided Warangal district. He said that the team neither assessed the losses nor gave any concrete assurance to the affected farmers.
Reddy said that this year chilli was cultivated on nearly 4 lakh acres spread across Khammam, Mahabubabad, Kottagudem, Warangal Urban, Warangal Rural, Nalgonda and Suryapet districts. The farmers invested about Rs. 1.5 lakh per acre and expected a yield of nearly 25 quintals per acre and an income of Rs. 15,000 per quintal or nearly Rs. 3.57 lakh for the entire yield. However, their crops were destroyed by Thrips Parvispinus, an invasive insect from Indonesia which was first seen in 2015. Consequently, as against the expected yield of 25-30 quintals per acre, the yield was less than three quintals causing huge losses to the farmers, he said.
He said crops spread over 50,000 acres of land were damaged due to unseasonal rains in North Telangana alone.
The crop loss has pushed thousands of farmers into a huge debt trap with consequently drove a few of them to suicide. On average, he said nearly 4-5 chilli farmers in Nalgonda, Khammam and Warangal are committing suicide every day, he alleged.
Revanth said that although the farmers are entitled for compensation for the losses to their crops due to natural calamities under the Disaster Management Act, the Central Government always neglected the farmers of Telangana. While Rs. 1,515 Crore were earmarked under 14th Finance Commission for the period 2015-20, an amount of Rs. 3,310 crore was allocated for the years 2021-2026. But the State Govt did not utilise those funds appropriately. While the crop damage was reported in 20 lakh acres in 2020, the authorities have claimed compensation for just 12,32,436 acres due to the faulty enumeration of losses. This amount too was not compensation by the Centre. This badly affected the farmers and pushed several of them to suicide, he said.
Revanth Reddy said that lack of any assistance by the Centre or State Govts has left the farmers helpless and driving them to extreme steps like suicide. He, therefore, demanded that CM KCR take immediate measures to pay compensation to affected farmers without further delay.
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