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Agriculture Minister fails to announce compensation for cotton farmers

Opposition boycotts Assembly proceedings
Nagpur: A day after facing embarrassment over could not being able to produce information on the damage to cotton crop due to the pink bollworm pest infestation, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar on Thursday said that the government has received applications from over five lakh farmers claiming damages.
“We have the reports from over 20 districts claiming that the cotton crop has faced disease because of pink bollworm. We are in the process of conducting panchnamas. Crop in over 4.90 lakh hectare has faced damage,” Mr. Fundkar said, replying to a discussion on problems faced by the farming community.
Mr. Fundkar denied the opposition charge that the state government was safeguarding the seed companies from any possible action against them. “Over five lakh farmers have given application claiming damage to the crop. All these farmers will be given compensation through seed companies, insurance claims and disaster relief fund,” he said.
The Minister did not announce any compensation to cotton farmers, which irked the opposition. Prior to the winter session, opposition had demanded compensation of ?25,000 per acre to farmers.
“The government is claiming that the farmers will get compensation, but is not ready to do so. The Minister must announce the amount today to extend relief to farmers,” Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened saying the government would analyse the loss and ensure that every cotton producer benefits.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil too criticised the government for failing to make a concrete announcement to benefit the farmers.The Opposition unitedly boycotted the proceedings over the government’s inability to announce the compensation amount.
The Hindu had last month reported on how the state is staring at an unprecedented loss of cotton crop this year, as pink bollworm is estimated to have affected approximately 50% of the total crop. The Opposition has been claiming that the loss would cost the state ?30,000 crore.