The state cabinet on Friday approved the pattern of assistance to be given to farmers in distress under the Shetkari Adhar Nidhi scheme.
Announcing this at a press conference, chief minister Digambar Kamat said the decision will bring relief to all the farmers who have suffered losses on account of various natural calamities and whose dues have been pending for some time now.
“I have given instructions to the director of agriculture that all pending dues have to be cleared before March 20 this year,” Kamat said.
The cabinet decision is expected to give relief to around 7,000 farmers in Goa whose cases of compensation have been pending since the year 2008. Although the exact amount of compensation to be paid to these farmers will be known only after the agriculture department assesses each claimant’s losses in accordance to the newly-approved evaluation criteria, the total is expected to touch 5 crore. While the agriculture department currently has around 2 crore in its kitty, the state government will make available the balance amount required to compensate the farmers.
Kamat said that although farmers were compensated under the natural calamity scheme earlier, the financial assistance given to them under the scheme were found to be “meagre and insufficient.”
The chief minister went on to explain that it was for this reason that the government went on to formulate the Shetkari Adhar Nidhi scheme, under which benefits would be extended to farmers affected by unseasonal rains and floods among other natural phenomena.
The Shetkari Adhar Nidhi scheme is applicable to cultivators of such agricultural produce as paddy, bananas, pineapples and all horticultural crops including vegetables. It will also cover various types of losses, such as crop loss or produce loss, and losses due to uprooting of trees, improper irrigational facilities and other infrastructure.
In July 2010, the government had assured that it would disburse an amount of 2.13 crore under the Shetkari Adhar Nidhi scheme to farmers affected by the October 2009 Canacona floods. That sum together with other compensatory amounts will now be cleared by March 20, sources said.