Three days after they suffered huge crop losses following unseasonal rains and hailstorm in different parts of Maharashtra, angry farmers on Tuesday staged road blocks on the busy Nagpur-Amravati Highway demanding expeditious compensation. "So far we have ascertained that crops on about two lakh hectares across 1,900 villages have been affected", the minister said.
Vidarbha and Marathwada region witnessed heavy hailstorm activity and unseasonal rains on February 11 and 12.
Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said according to the preliminary survey reports, agriculture produce in more than 190,000 hectares was damaged or destroyed, hitting around 1,800 villages in at least 11 districts of Vidarbha, Marathwada and surrounding areas.
In the backdrop of the exsiting unrest amongst the farmers over several issues, the state government is taking all possible measures to ensure speedy relief to the hailstorm affected farmers, the minister said and added that the farmers who had opted for the crop insurance scheme would also be benefitted out of the scheme.
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Preliminary reports of the agriculture department showed that till February 13, data about crop losses due to hailstorm were being received from 16 districts.
Based on the preliminary assessment, Buldhana, Amaravati, and Jalna have suffered the maximum damage. The calamity also impacted districts of Nanded, Latur, Hingoli, Osmanabad, Jalna, Parbhani and Beed in Marathwada, and Jalgaon in North Maharashtra. The crop was planted in October-November.
"There is a need to provide immediate help to the farmers". "A sizeable loss of cattle and poultry have been reported, the official had said". There are different compensation norms for the different crops like for sweet lime Rs 23,000 per ha, for banana Rs 40,000 per ha, mangoes Rs 36,000 per ha, etc.
Much of the damage has been reported in parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha, he said, adding that the rabi crops - chana and wheat - have been hit.