Snowfall: CPI (M) demands one-time exemption of KCC loans to farmers


While demanding one-time exemption of KCC loan to the small farmers and fruit growers whose harvest was damaged by recent massive snowfall in Kashmir, State Secretary CPI (M) Ghulam Nabi Malik on Tuesday reiterated calls for the implementation of Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) in the state.

A grower visiting his devastated apple orchard in south Kashmir. The November 3, 2018 snowfall has run riot with the apple orchards across Kashmir. KL Image: Shah Hilal

The spokesman said that horticulture is the backbone of State’s economy and the heavy snowfall has dealt a blow to it. Not only 20 to 30 percent yet to be plucked fruit was damaged due to the snowfall, but it caused massive damage to fruit trees as well which will be difficult for farmers to compensate. We had raised the issue of implementation of CIS in the state in the Assembly time-and-again. Though the announcement of the crop insurance scheme was made by the government, it is unfortunate that the said scheme is not implemented so far here.

Senior leader Muhammad Yosuf Tarigami

While then PDP-BJP government in the state implemented Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)in some areas of Jammu division nearly two years ago to give them a cushion in times of natural calamities, the fruit growers and farmers in Kashmir are still waiting for the same. The lackadaisical approach of the then government has resulted in huge losses to farmers and growers in Kashmir as a hailstorm, snowfall and drought has damaged orchards and fruit trees time and again.

The other drawback in the PMFBY is that if there is 50 percent loss in a block, then only the farmers can be compensated. But natural calamities like hailstorm can even damage crops in a limited area. The PMFBY needs to be implemented covering all areas and all crops.

While urging the government for immediate implementation of the PMFBY in Kashmir, he demanded that the state government must provide much-needed succor to the ailing horticulture sector and disburse financial relief to the affected families without any delay. It becomes an obligation for the government to come to the support and succor of the farmers and orchardists as they form the backbone of the state’s economy and have always been suffering on account weather vagaries.

He called for debt relief to small farmers and grower, who have suffered huge losses and urged the Government of India (GoI) and Governor Satya Pal Malik to give one-time exemption in the recovery of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans from farmers. Due to huge losses, farmers are not in a position to repay their loans raised against their farming land and orchards. There is a need to arrange a one-time waiver on a specified amount of KCC in favour of those farmers and agriculturists who are not in a position to purchase fertilizers and pesticides for their farms and orchards.

Preliminary reports from various fruit associations suggest that losses over Rs 500 crore have been incurred and irreparable damage has been caused to trees, plantations, and orchards.

The one-time waiver would benefit lakhs of families who are directly or indirectly under tremendous pressure from the banks. The one-time KCC loan waiver can be considered as one of the components of the relief and rehabilitation plan that can give a sigh of relief to the farming community.


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