Hailstorm-affected areas declared 'disaster-hit'

The State government has declared the areas affected by the recent hailstorm disaster-hit, and will hand out compensation to the affected farmers over and above the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) guidelines. In addition, the interest on farm loans taken by them will be waived. 

Every affected farmer will get the increased compensation for only one hectare as one-time relief, Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters on Monday. About 160 villages have been affected by the calamity that hit many parts of the State, especially north Karnataka, in mid-March, he added. About 70 per cent of the affected farmers, as per initial reports, own less than one hectare of land. Pomegranate and grapes are the worst affected crops, he said. 

Although the Cabinet took the decisions at its last meeting on March 26, they could neither be announced nor implemented as the model code of conduct was in force. As per the Cabinet decision, a compensation of Rs 15,000 per hectare will be given for non-irrigated land, against the NDRF norm of Rs 4,500; Rs 25,000 per hectare for irrigated land against the NDRF ceiling of Rs 9,000, and Rs 40,000 per hectare for land where bi-annual crops were grown against Rs 12,000 fixed under the NDRF, Jayachandra said. The compensation will be paid from the exchequer. 

“The government has also sought separate financial assistance from the Centre to provide relief to the affected people. The Centre recently released Rs 87 crore for this purpose, but we did not accept it. We have sought more,” he stated. 

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