Political parties, cutting across party lines, today, demanded immediate financial assistance and relief including loan waiver for farmers in North and Western India whose crops have been hit by unseasonal rain and hailstorm.
The Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal (United) and CPI(M) demanded that the Centre should immediately announce financial assistance, assess the extent of damage to crops and wave interest on loans of distressed farmers.
With several members in Rajya Sabha giving notice under rule 267 for suspension of business to take up loss of crop due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said it has been decided to take up discussion and the government replying to it.
Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad said standing crops in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra have been destroyed in the unseasonal rains and hailstorm.
He demanded fair assessment of the crop loss and corruption-free and fair distribution of compensation.
Besides, a financial package for farmers needs to be announced at the earliest, he said.
KC Tyagi of the JD(U) said though crops worth Rs. 22,000 crore has been lost in the natural fury, the insurance companies were assessing crop loss at no more than Rs. 1,000 crore.
During the previous UPA regime, there was a Group of Ministers for quickly assessing the loss and announcing relief but under the present dispensation all such panels have been dissolved, he said, demanding formation of a ministerial grouping, preferably under Finance Minister, for quick assessment of loss.
Stating that all of the standing crop in some states have been destroyed, he said the government should announce a moratorium on loan repayments by farmers.