Under fire from the Opposition over delay in financial aid to farmers for crops damaged by pests, the Maharashtra government is set to release Rs 1,100 crore for cultivators in the next few days, an official said.
Bijay Kumar, the principal secretary, agriculture, said that a sum of Rs 1,100 crore will be released in the coming week to provide relief to the affected farmers.
The details will be announced soon as 30 April and 1 May are government holidays and banks would not be functioning on those days, he said.
“The state government has prepared a detailed list of the beneficiary farmers and their bank accounts. The money will be disbursed into their accounts only,” a senior official from the state relief and rehabilitation department said.
As per the state government’s primary survey, the pink bollworm and other pests last year affected cotton crop on 34 lakh hectares of land as against the total cultivation on 43 lakh hectares.
Many of the areas in eastern parts of Vidarbha were affected by other pests which damaged the rice and other kharif crops.
This prompted the government to increase its coverage of compensation.
Subsequently, on 17 March, the state government made changes into its compensation policy and submitted a proposal of Rs 3,373 crore to the Centre, and is awaiting response.
“The state government, however, decided to go ahead and disburse its share in the financial assistance to farmers, instead of waiting for the Centre to release its contribution. The state is going to disburse Rs 1,100 crore to farmers,” the relief and rehabilitation department official said.
The funds will be given to district collectors who will further transfer the amount into the accounts of farmers, he said.
The beneficiary farmers’ land records, cultivation crop entries on revenue document and bank accounts will be verified before the transfer of funds, the official added.