28K growers get Rs 29 cr for areca crop loss

28K growers get Rs 29 cr for areca crop loss

President Meenakshi Shanthigodu speaks during the Zilla Panchayat special meeting in Mangaluru on Wednesday.

As many as 28,154 arecanut growers in the district have received Rs 29.14 crore as compensation for crop loss due to fruit rot disease, Horticulture Department Deputy Director H R Nayak on Wednesday.

The farmers have been recompensed under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) guidelines, the deputy director.

Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shantigodu, who chaired the special meeting at the Nethravathi Hall on Wednesday, said that as 56,474 arecanut growers had sought compensation, the Zilla Panchayat had submitted a Rs 60-crore proposal.

Nayak said that a joint survey by the Revenue and Horticulture Department officials had assessed the damage caused by fruit rot disease (kole roga) and had sought Rs 60 crore from the government. NRDF guidelines had fixed Rs 18,000 as compensation per hectare, he added.

“As the amount is directly credited to the bank account of the farmers through ‘Parihara software', the Horticulture Department did not have much information on the compensation received by each farmers,” Nayak stated.

Member Mamatha Gatti said that bills to the tune of Rs 8 lakh from owners of water tankers were pending for the payments. “If payments are further delayed, none will come forward to supply water to the residents during peak summer. Why is there a delay in clearing the bill?” she asked.

Selvamani, chief executive officer, said that the bills have been cleared by the deputy commissioner as per the NDRF guidelines. “I had already discussed the issue with the deputy commissioner,” he added.

Bowing to pressure from the members, a resolution was passed to urge the government to release the amount to clear the bills of water tankers to the Zilla Panchayat rather than deputy commissioner.

Shantigodu and Vice President Kasturi Panja directed the officials to ensure that there was no water crisis in villages during the peak of summer. The Mescom should provide electricity connections to all the water projects without any delay, they ordered.

Shantigodu also directed the taluk panchayat executive officers to direct the PDOs to clean all the drains in villages before the monsoon. The executive engineer said that Rs 4 crore was released under the Zilla Panchayat Development Fund and the development works are in progress.

Of the Rs 30-lakh government funds to the ZP for road safety works, Rs 10 lakh was sanctioned to Bantwal, Rs 7.4 lakh to Belthangady, Rs 7.65 lakh to Sullia, Rs 2.45 lakh to Puttur and Rs 2 lakh to Mangaluru taluks.

Member Asha Thimmappa Gowda said that unscheduled load-shedding in rural areas were causing miseries on farmers and cottage industries.