Cotton farmers affected by the pink bollworm during the kharif season have been left in the lurch, with the government not taking the initiative to ensure that they get compensation from seed companies or insurance firms.
Cotton crop sowed in 10 lakh acres has been affected by the pink bollworm pest attack.
The government is yet to conduct even a panchanama of crop loss so far, which is essential for the farmers to claim compensation. In contrast, the Maharashtra government had recently directed seed companies and insurance firms to pay compensation to the affected farmers. It has roped in teams to inspect the crops damaged by bollworm. Based on their report, the government sought compensation of up to Rs 38,000 per acre to farmers from the Centre, seed companies and insurance firms. No such effort is seen in the state despite farmers suffering huge losses and reports of distressed farmers committing suicide were coming in from the districts almost every day. The TS government is more focussed on convincing farmers to destroy the standing crop affected by bollworm, for which the agriculture department has taken up a campaign in all districts.
Agriculture commissioner C. Parthasarathi has written to collectors and agricultural officers asking them to convince farmers to destroy the standing crop so as to control its spread in the ongoing rabi and next kharif seasons. “Farmers should destroy the affected crop after the third picking, which is taken up in the third week of December, and completely destroy the crop by the end of the month. The extended life of the affected crop will not only damage the crop in ongoing rabi season but also sp-read it to the next kh-arif season,” he noted.
Farmers’ associations are demanding that the Centre and and the state government ensure payment of compensation from Monsanto for crop losses. The Telangana Rythu Sangham has demanded the government initiate action against Monsanto, holding it responsible for the spread of third generation BT cotton seeds. Farmers are terming Roundup Ready Flex or RRF herbicide-tolerant cotton-technology as BG-III. Monsanto India has denied these allegations and held seeds sellers responsible for crop loss.