Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Oct 31:
Even as the opposition parties are crying foul over the special package announced by the state government for the farmers who suffered crop loss due to the recent cyclone and floods, no one, including ruling party members, is quite sure how share-croppers will get their compensation.
Sharecroppers, who cultivate the bulk of agricultural land in the state, are unlikely to get the benefit of the package since they are not officially recognised in the absence of any records. Most sharecroppers cultivate agricultural land on verbal agreements with the land owners. That being the case, the possibility of the actual land owners walking away with the benefits of the package cannot be ruled out, say those in the know.
Though the Agriculture department has asked district collectors to identify farmers, including sharecroppers, for disbursal of the monetary compensation under the package announced by the state government, identifying sharecroppers is not going to be easy.
“It’s a difficult task to identify sharecroppers for disbursement of the announced package. However, we have asked the district collectors to work on it and furnish a report to the department,” said a senior official of the department.
In the absence of any agreement with the owners of the land, no one knows how the collectors are going to identify the sharecroppers.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that farmers in the calamity-hit areas will get at least Rs 2,000 as compensation and an agriculture input subsidy of Rs 4,500 per hectare in rain-fed areas and Rs 9,000 per hectare in assured irrigated areas. Rs 12,000 per hectare has been earmarked for all types of perennial crops restricted to sown areas.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture department has pegged the loss of crops due to the twin calamities at Rs 455 crore in its preliminary estimate. The actual loss would be known only after the harvest, sources in the department said.
The senior officer of the department said that crop loss of more than 50 percent has been reported in 7.82 ha of land.
It is to be noted that the state government had sought assistance of Rs 385.50 crore on account of agricultural loss in the first phase memorandum to the Centre. It had sought central aid of Rs 4,242.41 crore to meet losses caused by cyclone and subsequent floods. Later, the government sought an additional central assistance of Rs 1,509.09 crore for losses totalling at Rs 5,832.5 crore.