Waiver period for crop loans extended till July 25

Waiver period for crop loans extended till July 25

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the Legislative Council on Thursday that the government would extend the period of crop loan waiver to July 25, 2012.

However, he did not give any assurance to the House on writing off loans taken since April 2011, as demanded by the Opposition. Replying to a debate on drought, Shettar said the government had extended the period so that more farmers in distress could get help.

The chief minister, on Tuesday, had announced a Rs 3,500-crore crop loan waiver, expected to provide relief to over 16 lakh drought-hit farmers.

Shettar had said farmers who took loans from co-operative institutions between August 2011 and June 2012 would be eligible for the benefit.

Deputy chief minister K S Eshwarappa told the House that the government had declared 19 more taluks, including four in Bangalore Urban district, drought-hit. With this, the number of drought-hit taluks has gone up to 142, out of a total of 176.

The 19 taluks are: Anekal, Bangalore North, Bangalore South, Bangalore East, Hoskote, Nelamangala, Ramanagara, Malur, Chennagiri, Harihar, H D Kote, Hunsur, Gokak, Shikaripura, Shimoga, Bhadravati, Chikmagalur, Tarikere and Alur.

The deputy chief minister said the government had issued orders to procure fodder from Punjab and Haryana for distribution in the drought-affected places.

Not satisfied with the reply, the Opposition members said the government had failed to announce compensation to farmers who had incurred crop losses in the last one year.

In 2011, the Andhra Pradesh government had given a compensation of Rs 10,000 for every affected farmer owning land not more than five acres, they said.

Leader of the Opposition S R Patil demanded that the government must announce a special package for farmers in taluks where co-operative societies were defunct and farmers had not raised loans at all.

Shettar tried to pacify the agitating members, saying he would lead an all-party delegation to Delhi to seek more funds for drought relief.

“We as the State government have been bearing enough load. Let’s talk to the Centre for more help as the drought situation is severe,” he said. The Congress members then staged a walkout.

Experts opinion

Eshwarappa said the government would go ahead with cloud seeding only after detailed discussions with experts regarding its feasibility.

Opposition members raised doubts about the benefits of cloud seeding on which the government was planning to spend Rs five crore.

JD(S) leader Nanaiah wondered whether the initiative would be beneficial when the kharif season was already over.

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