Looking into the drought situation in many parts of Rajasthan, the state government has announced some relief measures. The government has announced a special package of Rs 30 crore for the bordering Barmer and Jaisalmer districts, declaring that the relief will be extended to all farmers and not just be limited to the small and marginal farmers.
After the monsoon failure, the government has already declared 5,555 villages of nine districts in Rajasthan as drought-affected. Of the total 5,555 villages, about 50 percent — 2,741 — villages are in Barmer district.
Rakesh Sharma, additional district collector, Barmer, confirmed the report of relief measures. Sharma said the decision of special package for Barmer and Jaisalmer has been taken at the government level.
He, however, said that the district administration is yet to receive directions in the matter. “On getting directions, relief would be provided in the affected areas,” he added.
Sharma said that the relief will not just be limited to the small and marginal farmers, but all farmers will be able to get the benefit of the relief activities.
In may be mentioned here that before 2015, the central norms provided relief to cows without considering the ownership. In 2015, the centre revised the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) norms, which limited the relief only to the cow rearing farmers with land up to 12 bighas. The new norms stopped relief to the stray cows.
Farmers rearing cows in the western Rajasthan are protesting the amended NDRF norms. They said the clause deprived relief to about 75 percent cows in the bordering Barmer and Jaisalmer districts. Citing reasons how the new norms deprived relief to the cows, Alok Singhal, secretary of the Rajasthan Gau Seva Samiti, said that an average farmers hold 20 to 25-bigha land in the region. “In such a situation, lakhs of cow-rearing farmers have become ineligible for the relief,” Singhal said, adding that they are demanding revision in the relief NDRF norms.
According to the 2012 livestock census, Barmer district has 54 lakh livestock population, out of which 7.88 lakh are bovines. In past seven years, the number of bovines has increased and reached to 10 lakhs, Singhal claimed.
Former vice president of the Rajasthan Gau Sewa Aayog and BJP leader Pratappuri Shastri, said that besides revision in the NDRF norms, the farmers were also demanding a special package for the bordering districts. Shastri said that due to government’s negligence and complexity of norms, till date thousands of cows have died.
“It is good the state government has considered their (farmers’) demand and announced special package for bordering districts,” Shastri said, who is staging a protest for past seven days.
He, however, refused to withdraw his agitation, saying that the government has made the announcement, but there is no guideline for the execution. “We will not withdraw the agitation till the arrangements of fodder and water for the cows is made,” he added.
He said that soon a delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the demand to revive NDRF norms or give special relaxation to the Barmer and Jaisalmer districts.
Meanwhile, the protestors continued their agitation and organised a march on Friday. Later, they gave a memorandum to the additional district collector and requested him to execute the special package at the earliest.
Jun 15, 2019 09:25 IST