Gadkari visits Agra villages to check crop damage

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Agra, April 7: Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Ram Kripal Singh on Tuesday visited some villages here to assess first hand the extent of damage to standing crops of wheat, mustard and potato due to untimely rains and hail storm.

Addressing a farmers' gathering at Arukhas village, Gadkari said the NDA government was firmly with the farmers and would do everything to minimise their losses.

Nitin Gadkari

"We have asked for reports from the state government, which will be studied and then an adequate compensation policy would be announced." He asked farmers to open bank accounts so that the subsidy or relief reaches them directly.

Gadkari said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted several teams of ministers that are presently touring different areas. Their reports will be submitted to the prime minister in a few days and a comprehensive policy would be announced.

During the visit, farmers stopped Gadkari and took him around the fields to show the extent of damage suffered by them.

Farmers said the minister appeared in a hurry and left many of their questions unanswered.

Several of these farmers at the meet opined that perhaps this ministerial visit was a damage control exercise to refurbish the image of the Bharatiya Janta Party which is being viewed by many as anti-farmer due to the land acquisition ordinance.

In Agra division, 20 farmers have either committed suicide or died of shock, but the official statistics show only four deaths.

Of the nine lakh farmers in the division, around five lakh have been literally ruined and are now marginal farmers. The remaining four lakh have better holding capacity and would survive even with damage to the crops.

Leaders of the farming community alleged that the district level officers were not showing the actual state of damage. In Agra, the insurance is loss-based while in Mathura district it is weather-based.

Jitendra Singh, a farmer from Bainpur, said this year, particularly after the BJP came to power, the farmers have been hit twice. The kharif crop was hit due to scarce rains and the Rabi crop has been hit due to excessive and untimely rains.

IANS

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