Karnataka farmers cry foul over crop loss compensation

No 'parihara' for this: Karnataka farmers cry foul over crop loss compensation

Farmers allege widespread irregularities in disbursing compensation for crop loss.

In what is seen as widespread irregularities in disbursing “the highest compensation” announced for crop loss suffered during August floods, farmers say the relief varied widely among themselves despite cultivating the same crop.

They also claim that some were given higher relief amount based on their political affiliations.

In October last, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced the “highest compensation” for crop loss during any natural calamity — farmers in dry lands would receive Rs 16,500 per hectare, irrigated lands Rs 23,000 per hectare and horticulture crops Rs 25,000 per hectare. The compensation was limited to two hectares.

Speaking to DH, Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, accused the government of disbursing ‘Parihara’ relief as per its whims and fancies. “In places like Ramdurg, Belagavi district, farmers not affected by floods were given compensation while the actual victims had to stage a protest demanding the same,” he said. 

Mallikarjun, a farmer from Ramdurg, alleged that many who had suffered crop loss were not included in the initial list of beneficiaries. “Only after a protest did they include many names. Political leaders at gram panchayat and taluk panchayat levels are calling the shots on who the beneficiaries should be,” he said.

Another farmer from Alagawadi village, Navalgund, Dharwad district, alleged that though there were 2,200 bank accounts of farmers hit by August floods, 400 were yet to receive compensation. “Even the compensation offered to the remaining is riddled with inaccuracies,” he said. Blaming crop survey or the lack of it for the trouble, he said several officials had entered details for compensation without ever setting foot on the affected areas.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who heads the agriculture department, said the government had received complaints regarding Parihara. “While there are cases of farmers receiving less compensation than what is stipulated by guidelines, the allegations of more relief based on political affiliations are untrue,” he said.

The problem might have cropped up during data entry of beneficiaries, Savadi said, adding that measures were being taken to address the disparity.

S Honnamba, Director, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), said it had not received any complaints regarding irregularities in providing compensation. “If there are complaints, we can assess at the software back-end whether the errors were due to data entry issues or other problems.”

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