Hyderabad, Mar 21 (IANS): Unseasonal rains and hailstorm in parts of Telangana have damaged standing crops in more than 1.50 lakh acres, according to initial estimates by the state government.
The unexpected rains and hail storms due to the trough over the state caused huge losses to farmers, who were hoping to reap the Rabi harvest in a few days.
Maize, mango, cotton, and chilli crops have been damaged due to the untimely rains and hailstorm.
Based on the preliminary estimates from District Collectors, Telangana State Rythu Bandhu Samithi president and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) legislator Palla Rajeshwar Reddy stated that crops over 1.50 lakh acres belonging to 80,000 farmers were damaged.
The actual losses could be much higher. The state government is waiting for reports from agriculture clusters. There are 2,603 agriculture clusters in the state.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has asked the district ministers concerned, the Chief Secretary and the officials to get the details of the damages caused by hailstorm.
The Chief Minister is also likely to visit badly-affected districts on Wednesday. He is likely to announce relief measures after the visit.
The state government has demanded that the Centre should send its teams to assess the damage caused to the crops due to the unseasonal rains.
However, the BRS government does not have huge expectations. Rajeshwar Reddy alleged that during the monsoon, when there was a crop loss of Rs 7,000 crore, the Centre had given just Rs 250 crore.
The opposition parties and farmers' groups have demanded the state government to come to the rescue of affected farmers.
As the state government is not implementing any crop insurance scheme, the farmers are looking towards the state government to compensate for the loss they incurred.
Some farmers' organizations are demanding the state government to either implement the Centre's Pradahan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) or launch its own scheme.
BJP state President Bandi Sanjay claimed that there was a crop loss in more than five lakh acres of crops in about 13 districts.
He said chilli and mango farmers were the worst affected due to rains and hailstorms and added that about 40,000 acres of mango crop has been damaged due to rains.
He alleged that since the Telangana government was not implementing crop insurance schemes of the Centre, farmers were not getting crop insurance for the damages caused due to rains.
In an open letter to the Chief Minister, Bandi Sanjay said that if the state government implemented the PMFBY, farmers would have immediately received the compensation.
However, the BRS government says that the PMFBY is useful only for the insurance companies and not for farmers. It wants the Centre to bring a new crop insurance scheme.
CPI-M state Secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram demanded that a compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre should be paid to each acre to all those farmers who lost their standing crops.