After the BJP suffered an election setback in the cotton-growing areas of Gujarat, the Maharashtra government has taken steps to pacify farmers cultivating the cash crop in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.
It has decided to compensate farmers whose cotton crop has been infested with a pest known as pink bollworm.
With around 18 months to go for the Assembly elections, the relief and financial assistance is being viewed as a measure to prevent a reversal in BJP’s electoral fortunes in the region, which is controlled by the party. More than 50 BJP MLAs come from these two largely agriculture-driven economy regions.
The state’s relief and rehabilitation department is still carrying out surveys of destroyed cotton crop. During the winter session, agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said compensation for non-irrigated land would be Rs 30,800 per hectare, and Rs 37,500/ha for irrigated land. He said that farmers with two-hecatre of land would be eligible.
The announcement of a financial assistance to farmers came two days after the BJP lost considerable ground in the Saurashtra-Kutch region of Gujarat, which predominantly grows cotton and groundnut.Of the 13.6 million farmers in Maharashtra, nearly 4.5 million cultivate cotton. In addition to crop insurance and assistance, farmers will also receive compensation from seed companies.Shiv Sena, BJP’s partner in the government, has been slamming the BJP for not looking after farmers’ welfare, and failing to implement loan waiver.