When cover for farmers came a cropper -Rajalakshmi Nirmal
-The Hindu Business Line
How 140 farmers in Maharashtra’s Jalna district have been left high and dry
Farmers of Jalna district in Aurangabad Division of Maharashra, who planted pomegranate, mango and sweet lime in the 2017 kharif season and lost their crop because of a drought are in a state of despair. Despite coughing up premiums for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), they have not received a penny from the insurance company, which contends that the relevant papers have not reached it. However, the SBI branch through which the farmers tendered the premium refutes the contention of the insurance company.
Caught in this game of ‘passing the buck’, farmers are fast losing hope of getting their compensation in the near future.
The distress of the 140-odd farmers is understandable as there is hardly any redress mechanism available to them. In a bid to understand the core issue better, this writer reached out to the farmers, the SBI branch in Badnapur and the representative of the insurance company, IFFCO Tokio.
The excessive reliance on the fickle weather conditions has left farmers high and dry in this arid Marathwada region. The story of Raisingh Zendusingh Sundrde from Rajawadi Village in Badnapur, Jalna, perhaps best explains this. Awarded as the best mosambi farmer in the area in 2016, Sundrde soon ran out of luck and suffered huge crop losses in 2017. Despite taking cover under the PMFBY, he is now caught in a debt trap. For the 20 acres split between him and his brothers, he paid a premium of about Rs. 32,000 through the SBI branch in Badnapur in 2017. “I actually borrowed from a money-lender at 4 per cent monthly interest to pay the premium and am now neck-deep in trouble,” laments Sundrde.
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