Telangana HC asks state govt to compensate farmers for crop loss due to rains

The court has ordered the government to distribute compensation to all affected farmers including tenant farmers within three months.
A farmer wades through a flooded field
A farmer wades through a flooded field
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The Telangana High Court on Tuesday ordered the state government to distribute compensation in the form of input subsidy to all farmers who suffered crop loss due to the floods induced by heavy rains in October 2020. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Vissa Kirankumar, Kanneganti Ravi and S Ashalatha of the Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV) in November 2020.

“Rythu Swarajya Vedika welcomes the High Court judgment on crop loss compensation. It is a big victory for farmers, and a wake-up call to the Telangana government to do justice to several lakh farmers losing their crops to disasters every year,” said a statement released by RSV. In a submission to the Union government, the state had mentioned that it suffered major crop loss in 15 lakh acres amounting to Rs 7,219.5 crore and mentioned that more than 33% of the yield was affected by the unprecedented rains last year.

The Telangana High Court ordered the government to distribute disaster compensation, in the form of input subsidy, to all affected farmers including tenant farmers. The court gave three months for the process to be completed. The court also ordered the government to compensate farmers for their putative loss, within four months, due to the failure of the state to implement any crop insurance scheme.

“RSV demands that the government should implement the order immediately in true spirit, and also demands that farmers affected by this year’s rains should be enumerated immediately. The government should also notify the Crop Insurance scheme starting from the upcoming Rabi season,” said RSV’s statement.

“Though it was widely reported from the field that 25 lakh acres of crops suffered damage in the heavy rains and floods of October 2020, the state government did not take any steps to provide relief assistance to the affected farmers, necessitating the PIL,” added Kirankumar.

Sharing details about the proceedings in court, RSV’s statement explained, “In its final judgment, the High Court bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ramachandraiah was critical of the state government for its failure to provide compensation to farmers from the Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF/SDRF) and its failure to implement any crop insurance scheme in the state, and granted the major prayers of the petitioners.”

“We call upon all farmer organisations and local sarpanches and people’s representatives to proactively oversee the implementation of the order by making sure that all the affected farmers are enumerated. In view of this order, the government should also enumerate the farmers affected by the ongoing heavy rains and flooding in August and September of this year. It should also immediately notify a comprehensive crop insurance scheme starting from the upcoming Rabi season so that farmers are not left without the option of a crop insurance,” said Kanneganti Ravi of Rythu Swarajya Vedika.

“We welcome the fact that the court order specifically mentions tenant farmers to be included. So far, the government has focused only on land patta holders, whereas the real cultivators are often tenant farmers, women farmers and Adivasi farmers who are getting excluded from all schemes because they do not have land pattas. The crop loss due to floods is suffered by the actual cultivators so the state government should have a clear mechanism for enrolling cultivators in light of the court order,” said S Ashalatha, also one of the petitioners, who is an active leader of Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch.

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