AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced a relief package of Rs 700 crore for the farmers in the state, whose crops have been damaged due to excess rains this year.
Talking to reporters, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the move would benefit over four lakh farmers in the state.
Farmers in Gujarat witnessed damage to their crops due to excess rains that lashed the state even after the monsoon season officially ended.
"The cabinet meeting held today decided to declare a relief package for farmers who have faced crop losses due to excess rains in the last week of October and early part of November," Patel said.
"We have decided to give a relief package of Rs 700 crore for the farmers. The main crops that have been damaged are groundnut, cotton and rice. Over four lakh farmers will benefit from this package," he said.
The relief package will be over and above the crop insurance that the companies will provide to the farmers who under the insurance cover.
The relief will be given as per the rules of the central government's Calamity Relief Fund, Patel said.
According to him, a survey is being carried out in different parts of the state to assess the crop damage and it will soon be completed.
"Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had promised to provide relief to all the farmers even if they have not taken crop insurance. To keep that promise to the farmers in the state, this relief package has been announced," he said.
However, the opposition Congress termed the relief package to farmers as a mere "lollypop" and asked the state government to provide crop insurance to them.
The Gujarat government's announcement came at a time when Congress leader Hardik Patel was about to end his day-long symbolic fast at Paddhari in Rajkot district over the issue of crop insurance and farm loan waiver in the wake of unseasonal rains.
"Farmers are committing suicide as they are not paid 100 per cent crop insurance. While we welcome the government's move (relief package), we want prompt disbursement of crop insurance," Hardik said.
"The BJP government was forced to announce a package of Rs 700 crore because of the Congress. We will continue our fight for the farmers in the coming days," he added.
Congress MLA Lalit Kagathara, who accompanied Hardik during the fast, claimed that the relief package would hardly cover the actual losses incurred by the farmers.
"This package is just another lollypop by the BJP government. As per the package, a farmer would get Rs 2,000 to Rs 1,000 per bigha as compensation. You can hardly cover the cost of hiring two labourers in that money. This announcement is misleading. Farmers must get 100 per cent payment towards the loss of their crop," the legislator said.