April 16, 2023

Expedite Relief for Crop Loss in Unseasonal Rains & Hailstorm

THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), in a statement issued on April 11, has expressed its deep concern over mounting miseries of farmers and agricultural workers due to the recent spree of rainfall and hailstorm in different states, especially in north India. Unseasonal rain in Maharashtra, hailstorm and rains over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir have led to massive damage to crops. The losses suffered already with widespread damage of the standing Rabi crops has been further compounded by this round of rain and hailstorm. Big losses in wheat and mustard are being reported. In addition to unseasonal rains and hailstorms, high winds have flattened wheat crop in north and western India. This sudden change in weather conditions also follows early increase in temperatures which also affect productivity.

Farmers are dissatisfied with the knee-jerk reactions regarding fair assessment of losses from both central and state governments. Putting them to even more hardships farmers are made to run from pillar to post in the name of uploading the crop losses suffered on the portal within a stipulated time. Apart from this, stringent conditions in terms of levels of moisture content and other harsh quality parameters are being enforced for procurement of the produce. AIKS units have actively taken initiative and mobilised the affected farmers at various places demanding transparent assessment and adequate compensation along with other relief measures including waiving of loans, electricity bills, interest free loans for next crop, launching of MGNREGA work on a big scale etc.

Total apathy and continuing indifference of the union agriculture ministry is condemnable. It is a sign of utter insensitivity at a time when the cultivators are faced with devastation of their crops and resultant huge loss of incomes. Notably, the crops have been destroyed just as they were ready for harvest; farmers had already made the entire investment in terms of inputs and labour costs. 

The devastating loss of crops could have a severe adverse impact for the country’s food security, given the lower procurement in the previous Rabi season 2021-22, which is reflected in the prevailing high inflationary conditions. Thus, procurement for this season becomes furthermore crucial to tame price rise and give adequate support to the affected farmers.

In this situation, All India Kisan Sabha demands the central government to react on a war footing, offer appropriate compensation for the losses and prepare a special package in consultation with all stake holders.