The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that unseasonal rains and hailstorms that wreaked havoc in several villages across Maharashtra since February this year was a serious issue.
“It is a serious issue and needs to be looked into,” a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice MS Sanklecha said while hearing a public interest litigation filed by two agriculturists seeking financial aid of Rs. 20,000 crores to all those farmers who have been affected by the hailstorm.
The bench posted the PIL for hearing on Friday.
The PIL filed by Gorakh Gadke and Vithalrao Pawar sought a direction to the Union Government and state government to disburse immediate financial aid of Rs. 20,000 crore despite the election code of conduct.
Additional government pleader Milind More informed the court that the government has declared a relief package of Rs. 4000 crore to the farmers and they would be exempted from paying electricity bills for six months.
Additional Solicitor General Kevic Setalvad, appearing for the Union government, sought two weeks time to file a reply to the PIL.
The Court, however, said it wanted to hear the petition on Friday.
According to the petition, lands ad-measuring over 17 lakh hectares had been affected in the natural calamity. Crops of summer rice, jowar, wheat, vegetables, onion, sugarcane, corn, maize, groundnuts, and horticultural products like banana, pomegranate, grapes, orange, papaya, mango and sweet lime have been damaged.
“The loss of crops, which were about to be harvested and taken to the market for sale, comes up to Rs. 42,000 crore approximately,” the PIL claimed.