BHUBANESWAR: The BJD on Monday targeted the Centre over non-settlement of farmers’ claims under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and demanded that only government insurance companies should be allowed to protect the interest of the farmers.
Alleging that lakhs of farmers in western Odisha districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Deogarh, Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi have been affected because of non-settlement of dues, BJD Rajya Sabha member and national spokesperson Sasmit Patra announced that the party will continue to fight till their claims are settled.
Stating that over the last five years, Rs 1.26 lakh crore have been paid as crop insurance premium across India and Rs 87,320 crore received as claims, Patra alleged that the insurance companies have made Rs 40,000 crore profit out of this, affecting the interest of farmers.
Patra said in Odisha, the State government has so far paid Rs 3,250.48 crore and farmers have paid Rs 1,009.84 crore as premium to the insurance companies. Adding the Centre’s share, total payment comes to Rs 7,510.8 crore till kharif 2021. He said till kharif 2020, the total premium paid to the insurance companies was Rs 6,163.28 crore while the payment to the claims was Rs 5,098.64 crore. The insurance companies made a profit of Rs 1,064.64 crore, which is 17.27 per cent of the total premium paid, he added.
He said between 2018 and 2020, Odisha farmers had filed crop insurance claims of Rs 2,090 crore, but the companies paid only 50 per cent the claims amounting to Rs 1,026 crore. The farmers are being harassed by the insurance companies for assessment of their claims and payment under PMFBY, he added.
The BJD MP said Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Telangana and West Bengal have opted out of PMFBY and the total area insured has also gone down by 73 lakh hectare, from 567 lakh hectare in 2016-17 to 495 lakh hectare in 2019-20. It is high time the Centre rectified these issues and help the farmers in times of distress, he said.