Friday, December 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Package for Haryana farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 26
The Haryana Cabinet today approved a relief package of Rs 236.16 crore for drought-affected farmers of the state.

In response to a memorandum submitted by the State Government, the Union Government had announced a package of Rs 109.65 crore only. The Haryana Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, here increased the package size by another Rs 126.51 crore.

The package comprises remittance of abiana, waiving of interest on loans from kharif crops of 2002, relief by the power utilities, funds for generating employment in the rural areas and compensation to those farmers whose loss to the crops in the drought-affected areas was more than 50 per cent, especially the growers of bajra, maize, other coarse grains, oilseeds and pulses.

The sugarcane growers, whose crops were damaged more than 50 per cent would get compensation at the rate of Rs 4000 per hectare. Vegetable growers suffering the same percentage of damage would get Rs 2500 per hectare. This decision was taken in view of the new agricultural strategy of crop diversification.

Abiana for kharif 2002, amounting to Rs 11.50 crore had already been remitted. The short-term cooperative loans amounting to Rs 497.50 crore were converted into medium-term loans to be paid after three years.

The package also includes the additional cost of power which the power utilities had purchased to maintain regular power supply for about eight hours daily to the agriculture sector.

The payment of the power bills of the agriculture tubewells for the period from June 1, 2002, to September 30, 2002, have been deferred for six months in case of those farmers whose crops suffered a damage of at lease 50 per cent. The total outstanding amount would be accepted up to April, 2003, without surcharge.

The electricity bills of the tubewells for the same period had been totally waived of in case of those farmers whose crops had suffered a damage of more than 75 per cent.

Employment of 14.42 lakh mandays has been generated and the labourers were provided Rs 20 in cash and 12 kg of wheat per manday.

The Cabinet also decided to transfer over 6878 acres belonging to the Government Livestock Farm, Hisar, to the Haryana Livestock Development Board for further leasing it to eligible farmers for production of fodder for animals and betterment of livestock.

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