Supreme Court questions TS govt on crop loss compensation

The PIL established that the state government had submitted a final report to the Centre in October 2020 giving detailed tables establishing severe crop loss in 15 lakh acres

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  2 Sep 2022 1:15 PM GMT
Supreme Court questions TS govt on crop loss compensation

Hyderabad: The Supreme Court on 1 September held a preliminary hearing of the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Telangana government appealing against the Telangana High Court judgment in the PIL filed for crop loss compensation by activists of Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV). Rythu Swarajya Vedika had alleged that the TS government did not distribute a single rupee of compensation though Rs. 188 crores were sanctioned by the Centre under the Disaster Relief Fund. The TS government's own reports show crop loss on 15 lakh acres, it said.

The High Court judgment of 28 September 2021 ordered the Telangana government to immediately enumerate the farmers who suffered severe crop loss due to the floods of October 2020 and complete the distribution of compensation within four months of the judgment. Instead of complying with the High Court orders, the Telangana government appealed to the Supreme Court in January 2022.

When the Supreme Court asked the counsel for Telangana whether the government had distributed any compensation to the affected farmers, the counsel could not provide any information on the compensation and instead told the court about its general cash transfer scheme. The court reiterated the question focusing on crop loss compensation and issued notice in the case ordering the Telangana government to file rejoinder to the counter-affidavit of the respondents within three weeks.

The respondents from Rythu Swarajya Vedika have already filed a detailed counter-affidavit to the SLP responding to the arguments made by the Telangana government in its petition.

What was RSV's PIL about?

The PIL filed in the High Court of Telangana by Kirankumar Vissa, Ravi Kanneganti, and S. Ashalatha of Rythu Swarajya Vedika made a plea for immediate distribution of compensation for crop loss to lakhs of farmers who suffered during the unprecedented rains and flooding of October 2020. The PIL established that the state government had submitted a final report to the Centre in October 2020 giving detailed tables establishing severe crop loss in 15 lakh acres and that the Centre had sanctioned Rs.188 crores from the Disaster Response Funds (NDRF/SDRF) in February 2021.

Kirankumar Vissa, one of the petitioners of the original PIL, said, "This case is very important because farmers are facing similar crop losses every year, including the present monsoon season, pushing them into deep debt and suicides. We hope that the Supreme Court clearly establishes the responsibility of the state government towards providing relief as per the National Disaster Management Act, so that it sets a precedent for subsequent years and for all the states too."

Vissa further added that the Telangana government does not have an answer to why it has not distributed a single rupee in compensation to the lakhs of farmers who lost their crop. "The government approached the Supreme Court making the same flawed and self-contradictory arguments which were already addressed and rejected by the High Court in its judgment of September 2021. RSV also questions the Centre on why it sanctioned only one-third of the total amount of Rs. 552 crores which was due as per the loss reports," he said.

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