Another fresh spell of heavy unseasonal rains lashed large parts of Maharashtra on Sunday evening, again hitting the spirit of already-beleaguered farmers. Many districts in Vidarbha, Marathawada and western Maharashtra were hit by strong showers and hailstorms accompanied by gusty winds, damaging the standing rabi crop.
Wheat, soya bean, jowar and fruits like watermelon and grapes were all set to be harvested. But the fresh showers have further damaged the winter harvest.
"This is the final nail in the coffin. Farmers are ruined. The kharif crop failed, and now they are further burdened with loans they cannot pay," Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti said. "Farmers need immediate relief."
Only recently, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered a quick survey of damaged crops, estimated to be about 6,000 hectares. But even before that data could be entirely compiled, another spell has hit the state.
The opposition, and even the BJP's own ally, the Shiv Sena, have cornered the government over the issue of compensation to affected farmers. The government has said that while their demand for over Rs 4000 crores from the Centre is pending, they have assured that before the Assembly session ends in early April, they will announce a financial package and a group insurance scheme for affected farmers.
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