Rs 1,679 crore: That's the worth of crop which gets damaged due to floods every year
Last month, floods caused massive damage in many states. Farmers who lose their crops are the silent sufferers as most of them don't even get compensation. According to the Ministry of Water Resources, between 1953 and 2017, on an average, floods have damaged crops worth Rs 1,679 crore every year
Mithilesh Dhar 2 Sep 2019 8:19 AM GMT
"My entire crop got washed away in floods this year. I have suffered a loss of more than Rs 3 lakh. Now, I will have to do labour jobs to earn bread and butter for my family," said NabaJyoti Saika, a farmer who lives in Assam.
NabaJyoti, a resident of Padumoni block in the Golaghar district of Assam, along with his family of six, was completely dependent on farming. Their annual produce was their only source of income. They were among the well-off farmers in their village. But this year's floods have finished everything.
"I sowed paddy on my 100 bigha land. Last year, I suffered huge losses due to floods. To compensate it I sowed paddy in my entire landholding. But the story repeated itself this year," said NabaJyoti.
According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, between 1953 and 2017, floods have damaged crops spread across 3.941 hectares --worth Rs 1,679 crore --in various parts of India every year. Every year, on an average, the farmers have lost 92,000 livestock.
Twenty-eight districts of Assam, 13 districts of Bihar and four districts of Maharashtra faced flood fury recently. More than 209 people have lost their lives so far and more than 1.5 crores are affected. People who have managed to save their lives are worried about rebuilding their lives.
Their primary concern, however, is poor compensation they have received for crop loss. Even the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana -- an insurance service for farmers for their yield -- could not make up for the losses. It has failed to compensate for the loss.
While in Assam, 9,496 hectares of land has got damaged due to floods, no such data has been released by the Bihar government. Only district-level reports have been released pertaining to agricultural losses.
During 2017floods, 872 lakh hectare agricultural landholding worth Rs 68,587 lakh (Rs 682 crore) was damaged.
"Last year, my 50 bigha farm got damaged. Then, in order to manage my living, I opened a coal shop. However, this year has been bad. I applied for insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Many officers visited us. Let's see if I will get any compensation," said NabaJyoti.
He added: "Last time, many of my relatives availed this scheme. But it was only in the hundreds of rupees. However, the loss was to the tune of lakhs. I am not very hopeful. I will have to do labour jobs to manage my family."
This year, a déjà vu
In 2017, 12 districts of North Bihar were ravaged by flash floods. Akhilesh Jha, a resident of Motihari Sugauli in Bihar, lost his maize crop sowed on 20 bigha landholding in flash floods. He said, "We have no access to Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana here. I have suffered a loss of Rs 2 lakh. The state government said it will give us compensation. But this amount is too less. We won't be able to sustain ourselves for a month."
It is difficult to calculate exact losses for this year. However, according to the report of the Department of Disaster Management in Bihar, 29,309 farmers have suffered agricultural losses of Rs 11 crore and 75 lakh in 2019 floods. Moreover, Kharif crop spread over 29,287.19 hectares in 75 panchayats was ravaged by the flash floods. Nearly six lakh hectare agricultural landholding gets washed away in the state every year.
Mohammad Rizwan, an Indian farmer based in the Brisfiblock of Madhubani district, sowed paddy in his 15-acre landholding, but it got washed away in July. He suffered a loss of Rs 1 lakh. He is still waiting for compensation that he was supposed to get last year.
"I am left with nearly three bigha crop. But it is inundated under more than 3-feet deep water, which is not receding," said Rizwan.
The Bihar government didn't implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in the state. Amod Kumar, the joint secretary of Bihar Disaster Management, spoke about farmers in Bihar getting compensation for their loss. He said, "We will provide compensation to the affected farmers under Bihar Fasal Sahayta Yojana. A survey is being conducted at the district level. Relief funds shall be provided as soon as we will get the report."However, Kumar failed to provide data regarding the percentage share of compensation farmers would be given under this scheme.
Under the Pradhan Manti Fasal Bima Yojana, various companies issue insurance to farmers in various states. Gaon Connection talked to Parag Kumar, research executive of a private insurance company based in Dhemaji district of Assam. He said, "There are several terms and conditions for farmers to avail compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. We assess all the damaged properties after conducting a survey."
"In most cases, we provide compensation of up to 25% of the losses incurred. The compensation amount also depends on the timing of crop loss. We have to assess issues like if the damage was done before or after harvesting. We provide compensation once we find all the basic details," added Kumar.
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