April 22, 2015 12:30:23 am
Opposing Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s claims that the Centre has released funds worth Rs 506 crore to be distributed by the Uttar Pradesh government to distressed farmers, the state’s politicians and bureaucrats said the central funds sanctioned was not a sop, as is being portrayed, but a part of routine annual remittance issued under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).
Addressing farmers in Saharanpur and Badaun on April 16, Rajnath had “appealed” to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to release the Rs 506 crore sanctioned by the Union government under SDRF for the financial year 2015-16, and had tweeted the same.
However, a state government official said, “SDRF is for normal natural calamities which occur during the course of the financial year, such as annual floods or a cold wave. The SDRF is due to us in any case. It is not over and above anything. It is not something exceptional or a big sop to the state as is being portrayed.”
Earlier, Cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav had also hit back at the Centre, saying “the state hadn’t received a single rupee from the Union government” to this effect and that the Centre was “misleading” the state’s farmers.
Meanwhile, the Union government sanctioned Rs 253 crore as the first installment under SDRF, a letter to which effect was received by the state on Monday.
A top government official said, “The share of the central government in SDRF is remitted to the state governments in June and December each year. Now, the first installment has been advanced by about a month and has been sanctioned in April, that’s all that has been done; it is out of the Rs 506 crore that the Union government is bound to pay us in any case.”
The state-Centre spat comes at a time when farmers across the state have suffered crop loss due to unseasonal rain and hailstorm in over 54 lakh hectares, of which wheat alone accounts for 41 lakh hectares.
State Planning Commission member Professor Sudhir Panwar said, “The statements coming in from the Centre are political. They know that in the end, the farmers will hold the state government responsible, and not the Union government.”
As per latest figures, 65 farmers have died or committed suicide reportedly due to crop loss. The rainfall data for UP between March 1 till April 15 stands at 488 per cent more than the average. While the normal rainfall for this period is 11.9 millimeters, it has received as much as 70 millimeters so far.
A government spokesperson said a memorandum is being prepared to seek Rs 6,677.45 crore from the Union government for the state’s 67 affected districts.
The state has so far released Rs 1,135.57 crore to the districts, of which Rs 602 crore has been distributed among farmers till Tuesday.
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