UP crop damage: State ups central aid demand to Rs 1,087 cr

In the backdrop of extensive damage to the standing rabi crops in Uttar Pradesh, the state government has sought central financial aid of about Rs 1,087 crore.

This is 46 per cent higher than the earlier demand of Rs 744 crore made by Uttar Pradesh based on the preliminary report of crop damage in 40 districts.

As the process of assessing the actual damage to crops is still underway, the final demand could further increase, Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said here on Wednesday.

He was holding a meeting with a team of central government officials, which arrived here to assess crop damage, so that the Centre could provide necessary funds for distribution to distressed farmers.

The central team would visit 15 districts of the state for on-ground assessment of damage to standing crops, especially wheat.

Ranjan said the central team said the Centre had conceded to increasing the relief amount by one-and-half times against the state government demand to double the relief amount.

According to the existing norms, farmers were paid only Rs 4,500 a hectare and Rs 9,000 a hectare for unirrigated and irrigated fields, respectively. Besides, the Centre is likely to give financial aid to farmers, if 33 per cent of crop was damaged vis-à-vis the existing norm of 50 per cent damage as threshold.

On Tuesday, a team led by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had visited Uttar Pradesh to assess crop damage owing to the recent spells of unseasonal rains and hailstorms. It had visited Agra, Aligarh and Meerut and held meeting with local farmers.

The Gadkari-led team, which also included some Union minister of states, would submit a report to the Centre regarding the financial aid required to tide over the crisis facing the state farmers.

The state government has allocated Rs 500 crore for distribution among farmers, who have been reportedly committing suicide or dying of shock.