Chandigarh:  Standing paddy crop in hundreds of acres in Haryana has been damaged due to untimely rains over the past two days, revenue and agriculture officials said on Friday.

Agriculture Department officials said the losses could run into hundreds of crores, though the exact damage would be known only after assessment by revenue officials across the state.

There were also reports of damage to the paddy crop in Punjab, another prominent granary. The Opposition said the damage was widespread in Ropar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Kapurthala, and Bhatinda areas and sought compensation for the affected farmers within a stipulated time.

Highlighting the plight of farmers, Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday demanded compensation for farmers as huge paddy crops across the state have been damaged owing to untimely rain. He also sought a girdawari (harvest inspection) for assessment of crop damage in the past two days.

“Every farmer has suffered a loss due to damage to the standing paddy crop. Waterlogging in the fields have affected the paddy crop. The government should get the ‘Girdawari’ done and give compensation to the affected farmers, ” he said.

The Leader of Opposition said earlier too the farmers faced the brunt of weather. “So far the farmers have not been compensated for the damage caused due to heavy rains, hailstorm and waterlogging. Neither the government nor insurance companies come forward to help the farmers in times of distress, ” he said.

Quoting an example of how insurance companies are cheating farmers in Hisar, he said: “When farmers, registered under the Pradhan Mantri Bima Yojana, applied for the compensation due to crop losses in kharif season, the company did not respond. Now several months, later the application was rejected. The farmers have been forced to fend for themselves. Insurance companies have so far earned a hefty profit of Rs 40, 000 crore due to government protection by taking premium from farmers.”

Hooda said despite repeated demands, the government has not yet started the paddy procurement. “Because of this, paddy at a rate of Rs 2, 060 is being purchased at Rs 1, 700 to Rs 1, 800 per quintal. Same is the case with millet farmers. Neither the MSP of millet is being given by the government nor farmers are being compensated through the government scheme, ” he said.

He said like every time, this time also the rain has exposed the claims of the government. “Today everything from the fields to the modern city of Gurugram is submerged. Farmers and the common man are feeling helpless. The government should make arrangements for drainage at the earliest.”

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