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Punjab Cabinet Approves Increased Compensation for Crop Loss Ahead of Baisakhi

Government will pay farmers Rs 2,000, Rs 2,750, and Rs 9,600 per acre for damage up to 33%, 75% & 100%, respectively.

Shivangi Rai
Farmer inspecting damage to crops flattened by strong winds and rain, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Friday.
Farmer inspecting damage to crops flattened by strong winds and rain, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Friday.

Yesterday, the Punjab Cabinet put its stamp on a 25 per cent rise in the compensation for crop damage due to untimely rainfall with the government saying that the money will reach before Baisakhi to the saddened farmers in mid-April.

The council of ministers, in a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, approved the government decision to boost the relief amount from Rs 12,000 per acre to Rs 15,000 per acre for 75 to 100 per cent crop damage.

After the meeting, Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said, “This measure will give a healing touch to the affected farmers who will be able to get reasonable financial relief by Baisakhi. From March 1, the relief rate will be applicable.”

Dhaliwal said that already a six-month prohibition on loans taken by farmers from cooperative banks has been announced.

In the recent past, untimely rains accompanied by hailstorms and high-velocity winds have caused damage to wheat in various parts of the state.

Prior, to announcing a special girdawari of the damaged crop, Mann had enhanced the compensation for farmers. The state funds will now have to pay Rs 2,000, Rs 2,750, and Rs 9,600 per acre for damage up to 33 per cent, 75 per cent, and 100 per cent respectively to farmers.

Earlier, the state used to pay Rs 2,000 per acre for 26 to 33 per cent loss. Now, the CM has announced to extend the benefit to those farmers too whose crops have suffered 20 per cent damage.

For those farmers whose 33 to 75 per cent crop has been damaged, the government would be paying Rs 6750 per acre. Prior to this, it was Rs 5,400 per acre. While Rs 4,000 would come from the state disaster response fund (SDRF), funded by the Government of India, Rs 2750 would be paid by the state. Earlier, the state only had to pay Rs 1,400 per acre.

For the damage between 75 per cent to 100 per cent, the farmers will be given a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre, out of which Rs 9,600 would be paid by the state while Rs 5400 will be paid by the Centre. Earlier, the compensation was Rs 12,000 out of which Rs 6,600 was paid by the state.

The council of ministers also gave consent for hiring 2,574 ‘Kisan Mitras’ and 108 field supervisors in the agriculture department. These ‘Kisan Mitras’ and field supervisors will motivate the farmers to get out of the wheat-rice circle and cultivate less water guzzling crops like basmati rice and cotton. This step will act as a catalyst to safeguard the precious groundwater of the state by augmenting the crop diversification programme on one hand and providing employment to the youth of the state on the other, as per the statement.

To regulate and manage drainage and canals in the state, the Cabinet also gave its nod to the enactment of the Punjab Canal and Drainage Act-2023.

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