Drought-hit farmers’ voice lost in Bhawantar din

By Times Of India on 28 Oct 2017 | read
Bhopal: The cacophony over the much-hyped Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY) has muzzled the voice of farmers hit by drought and excessive rainfall in the state. At mandis where procurement of the produce under BBY is being made, the farmers are angry and demanding fair price.

While the state government and its machinery is tom-tomming about BBY and patting its back, the drought-hit farmers are waiting for government action. Nearly a year ahead of assembly polls, as the agrarian crisis deepened further the cash-strapped government and recipient of five Krishi Karman awards, suddenly finds itself vulnerable, again.

The voice of farmers like Radheshyam Paraste, of Seoni district, is lost in the din.

"The government is talking about difference in prevailing rates of different crops, but it is not talking about the farmers who lost their crops because of drought or excessive rain during receding monsoon," Paraste told TOI over phone.

Seoni is one of the districts where paddy as well as soyabean crops have failed for different reasons.

Shahab Khan, a farmer in Bhopal said, he received just 180 kg of urad when he was expecting 100 quintal in his 25 acres of land.

Talking to TOI, agriculture minister Gaurishankar Bisen said, "production has gone down a lot because of either deficient or excessive rainfall or insect attack. In Seoni alone, soyabean production has gone down by almost 75% while in Chhindwara, it is down by almost 50 %."

The minister said that in Seoni and Balaghat, a paddy variety is lost completely after a fungus attack. The paddy plant is almost 3 feet -4 feet when the attack took place. " The crops can not be recovered", he said.

Anil Yadav of Bhartiya Kisan Union said, "the government is silent over the issue. It has only announced 13 districts as drought hit when more than 30 have actually experienced sookha."

Amidst the crisis, government sources claimed, the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan -known for making drought related announcements - is maintaining a stoic silence this time because of a new protocol added in the drought manual by the Centre in December 2016.Two years ago, Chouhan had even assigned one district each to an IAS officer to ascertain drought and report to him.

Agriculture minister said, "the loss is known only after crop harvest. Only then the crop insurance claims and compensation according to the rules of revenue book code (RBC) will be decided."

Soyabean processors' association of India (SOPA) is also monitoring the situation. Though tight lipped about the production figures of soybean, sources said, the oilseed production will go down this year.