BARGARH: Farmers under the banner of Krushak Sangathan Samanwaya Samiti, Bargarh on Wednesday paralysed operations in all banks across the district over insurance claims under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana for paddy crop loss due to drought during 2017 kharif season. The agitating farmers picketed in front of both nationalised and private banks in the district and paralysed banking services for the entire day. They also locked the National Insurance Company office here in protest. The entire district was affected due to drought during kharif season last year.
Though farmers had insured their kharif crop, the National Insurance Company is yet to disburse the insurance benefits, the agitators alleged. President of Krushak Sangathan Jayakrushna Sahu said the insurance company had assured that it would disburse insurance benefits to farmers by May 31 this year. However, farmers are yet to get the insurance claims. The officials of the insurance company are now claiming that they will disburse the benefits on June 20, Sahu said. He further informed that 1, 02,971 farmers of the district had cultivated paddy by taking loans from banks. As many as 853 farmers had grown paddy without taking any loan during the last kharif season. All the farmers had insured their paddy crops.
“The insurance company had taken Rs 128 crore as premium for insuring the crops. However, the farmers now have been deprived of getting insurance benefits in time due to lackadaisical attitude of the company, Sahu alleged. Sahu said the company is supposed to provide Rs 733 crore as insurance benefits to farmers of the district. However, the farmers are doubtful of getting the benefits as the company is unnecessarily delaying disbursement of insurance claims, he rued.
Later in the evening, the agitating farmers called off their agitation after having a discussion with district officials. Bargarh Collector Indramani Tripathy said the district administration has already discussed about the matter with officials of the insurance company. The company has found some discrepancies in the data of some villagers which is why disbursement of insurance benefits to farmers has been delayed, Tripathy said. He assured that farmers will get their insurance benefits soon.