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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Insurance Companies yet to light LAMPS in poor farmers’ homes in Jharkhand

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A demonstration rally with men and women carrying banners, posters and handouts marched to the Governor’s house and demanded for the implementation of their long pending  demand of insurance of their crops in the afternoon today on 28th July 2010.

Trucks, buses, cars and other vehicles carrying men and women from neighboring districts started assembling in the traditional Morabadi ground under Eucalyptus trees in front of the house of the  Ex-Chief Minister Mr. Shibu Soren since late in the morning. A number of sellers of pop-corn, pine apple slices, groundnuts etc. stalling near the main four lane road started doing good business as they often do during such hours. Not less fortunate were ladies selling handia liquor on the western margin of the Eucalyptus trees who enjoyed a good gathering of boys and adults who had come there from remote villages without any clear knowledge and concept of the work for which they had come to that place. Some well to do persons sitting inside some luxurious cars fitted with loudspeakers were commanding the crowd from time to time. Some cars and buses bearing the banner of a leading political party in the state were standing in the distant north corner of the ground seeing which any one could guess that the party had big hand in organizing the march.

The crowd comprised more than 90 percent ladies and it appeared that they did not know for what purpose they had been brought to that place. They had just to repeat or complement some slogans that were louded from the cars leading the way. The banners and handouts contained writings “Phasal Beema Shighra Lagoo  karo”(implement the crop insurance soon).Hearing the command from the foregoing cars, the crowd followed shouting the slogans. On the other end, near the Governor’s House the police commanders  were deploying the force for the treatment of the crowd marching towards them. What happened after that, let the local media report tomorrow but the crowd passed ahead leaving a number of questions behind- like what is the phasal bema that they were demanding? Why had a large number of ladies assembled for the march without knowing the purpose of the exercise they were doing? Who were the main beneficiaries of the programme? etc.Here, let me site a news report of July 8, 2010 from the Telegraph - The benefits of crop insurance policies continue to elude lakhs of farmers, even after they deposited premiums in 2009, as a result of complete insincerity on the part of the state government.

The state has failed to allocate requisite funds through agricultural insurance under the co-operative department, the nodal agency to implement the scheme aimed at benefiting farmers in distress due to erratic monsoon and meagre agricultural output.“Only about Rs five crore has been earmarked in this year’s budget. We need to arrange over Rs 130 crore more. We have initiated proceedings so that funds can be made available through a supplementary budget allocation,” said Bina Mishra, deputy secretary in the state co-operative department.Co-operative department secretary Arun Kumar Singh said he had joined the department only a few days ago and was not privy to matters related to providing crop insurance to farmers.
The state’s farmers were in dire need of insurance cover just before this year’s monsoon, especially in the wake of the absolute reduction of agricultural output caused by the erratic monsoon last year.However, the state government is yet to formally announce the crop insurance benefits for the 2009 kharif season.

This has forced the cash-strapped farmers to take loans from moneylenders at steep interest rates. Many are also opting against any crop insurance scheme of 2010 kharif season.Branch manager of Tamar Large Area Multipurpose Co-operative Society (LAMPS), Shyamal Nayak said, “In four LAMPS under Tamar block, 10,000 peasants availed of the crop insurance scheme in 2009 by paying Rs 99 against each acre of agricultural land. Farmers paid around Rs 24 lakh as premium from four LAMPS of Tamar block.”

The state’s farmers were not given insurance cover in 2007 and 2008 as well, as the authorities were satisfied with the agricultural yield. Sources said a whopping sum of over Rs 304 crore was to be distributed among the farmers to insure their crops. Of this, Rs 139 crore is to be paid by the centre, an almost equal amount by the state government and the rest by Agricultural Insurance Company of India Limited. The insurance benefits are to be paid based on the exact agricultural output.

What ever the true story, let us remain concerned with the crowd only. The crowd revealed that such demonstrations are sponsored programmes these days and the participants do know the real purpose behind the scene. They are innocent, poor and illiterate and so long as they remain so, the greedy and cunning people continue to exploit their share on many fronts and sharpen their leadership. They just don’t want these people to become wise and literate. This is the real point from where all the painful conditions that are seen in the state emerge out to surface on the horizon.

Key Words: Crop Insurance, crowd, Morabadi, posters, banners, handouts, groundnut, pineapple slices, pop corn,Agricultural Insurance Company of India Limited,exact agricultural output, wise and literate.



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