With the crisis triggered by the attack of pink bollworms on cotton crop in Vidarbha and Marathwada region of Maharashtra becoming severe, the Opposition parties are now demanding Rs. 25,000 per acre as compensation for framers.
The Opposition parties have also said that the State government’s purchase of foodgrains, pulses and soyabean from farmers has been very poor. They have demanded that the farmers should at least get the Minimum Support Price for their produce.
The Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde, told reporters that a compensation of more than Rs. 25,000 is a must, and that he had personally written to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, when the Centre had warned about the pink bollworm attack, he said.
Munde, who is a senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, said that figures of purchase from State government-run warehouses of foodgrains and soyabean are not very not very encouraging. Till date, at the government centres, only 2.16-lakh quintals of soyabean have been procured, out of the 357-lakh quintals produced in the State. Even the pronouncement of urad dal (black gram) is only 2-lakh quintal, while its productionis 14-lakh quintals. Moong dal’s (split green gram) procurement is even lower at only 39,000 kg, while production is at 13-lakh quintals.
The actual extent of cotton crop damage is still being evaluated in the State. The Chairman of Maharashtra government’s special task force on the agrarian crisis, Kishore Tiwari, has estimated the loss at Rs. 10,000-crore in Vidarbha and Marathwada.
The Chairman of State Agriculture Price Commission, Pasha Patel, told BusinessLine that the actual cotton crops losses are being still being evaluated and that the State government is willing to provide compensation to the farmers. Preliminary reports suggest that farmers in Marathwada are better covered under cotton crop insurance than those in Vidarbha, he said.
Patel suggested that the seed companies, who have been making profits over the years, must now take the lead and provide some monetary compensation to the cotton farmers.