Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is at the receiving end of the ire of political parties, which have demanded an increase in financial relief to nearly one crore rain-affected farmers in Maharashtra. On a day the Supreme Court criticised the State government for not implementing the previously announced assistance for the rain-hit Sangli and Kolhapur regions, the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday demanded that the norms set by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) be expanded to give more help to farmers. By the end of the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had joined the chorus for a hike in compensation, along with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which demanded the relief amount be matched to the ₹50,000 given by the Delhi government. Sources in the Governor’s office said the package announced last week is already beyond what is recommended by the NDRF norms. The Governor on Saturday announced ₹8,000 per hectare up to two hectares for agricultural Kharif crops and ₹18,000 per hectare up to two hectares for horticulture/ perennial crops. This is a hike from the ₹6,800 per hectare suggested for agricultural Kharif crops, and an increase in the upper limit in all categories from ₹16,800 to ₹18,000. “The declared amount is already hiked and there is little margin for more improvement,” an official from the Governor’s office said. The Shiv Sena has demanded that the amount be hiked to ₹25,000 per hectare. The party held a protest outside Parliament on Monday, while an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamana, criticised the Governor for the “low” amount. The Congress and NCP, too, have demanded compensation of more than ₹20,000. The AAP has gone a step ahead. Preeti Sharma Menon, national executive member of the party, said, “The Governor has announced ₹8,000 and ₹18,000 per hectare for Kharif crops and horticulture crops respectively, which is a pittance when compared to ₹50,000 per hectare, the highest in the country awarded by the AAP government in Delhi. The AAP demands that given the large-scale devastation of the Kharif crops due to unseasonal rain, the government declare ₹50,000 per acre as compensation for farmers immediately.”Senior officials said the assessment of the crop damage took time due to the model code of conduct being in place for the Assembly elections. This after aA Cabinet sub-committee headed by the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had approved ₹10,000 crore to provide immediate assistance to farmers. But the decision could not be formalised with the imposition of President’s Rule. According to an official estimate, major damage has been to corn, millet, and cotton crops. Senior officials said the overall relief package is worth near ₹8,000 crore to cover crop damage spread over 89 lakh hectares in Vidarbha, Marathwada, and parts of western Maharashtra.
The Australian High Commission in India on Thursday denied media reports that athletes from its country had behaved like hooligans at the Commonwealth Games Village.In a statement, the high commission accepted that some spirited celebrations had taken place but denied hooliganism by the Australian team. “We can confirm that in the course of celebrations a washing machine was damaged, though it remains unclear who did the damage, what their nationality was and whether it was deliberate or accidental,” the high commission said in a statement. “The suggestion that this was a reaction to Australia’s loss in the second Test is completely baseless. Australia sent its biggest team ever to the Delhi Games. The athletes embraced India and left with wonderful experience,” the statement said. The Herald Sun newspaper claimed that Australia’s Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite had confirmed that a washing machine was thrown off the eighth floor of an Australian residential tower at the Village. But Crosswhite said he would be surprised if the culprit was an Australian and blamed athletes from other countries who were in the Australian building at the time of the incident. The Delhi Police confirmed the rampage but said it had not received any complaint from the CWG Organising Committee. Media reports had said that some members of the Australian contingent went on the rampage after being unable to accept India’s thumping win over the Australian cricket team in the Test match. The reports said a washing machine, electrical fittings and furniture at the Village bore the brunt of the athletes’ anger. Apparently, slogans were also raised against Sachin Tendulkar.advertisement