MUMBAI: A delegation of the Union government arrived in Maharashtra today to carry out an assessment of crop loss caused due to the pink bollworm attack in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state, an official said.
Several villages in Marathwada and Vidarbha suffered large-scale damage to crops, mainly cotton, due to the pink bollworm infestation late last year.
The assessment by the central team is necessary before the Centre sanctions the financial aide to farmers for the crop losses.
"It is a routine but mandatory visit of the Centre's delegation to Maharashtra to assess the crop damage caused by the pink bollworm attack," Bijaykumar, Principal Secretary of State agriculture ministry told PTI today.
"The state government has sought Rs 1,221 crore financial assistance from the Centre. Once the delegation submits its report to the Finance Ministry, we will get funds," he added.
According to an official from the state Agriculture Department, the delegation will first visit some villages in Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts and hold talks with farmers.
Thereafter, they will go to the affected villages in Vidarbha region and carry out the assessment, he said.
"On Saturday, the delegation will reach Mumbai and after meeting the state officials, the members will leave for New Delhi the next day," the official said.
However, farmer leader Manik Kadam asked why the delegation was visiting the state so "late".
Kadam, who is the head of Marathwada unit of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, said, "The cotton crop was damaged in December and most of the farmers have already removed the damaged yield from their farms. What is the point of visiting those farms now?"
The delegation will now only see farms being prepared for the next kharif season, he said.
"The delegation should have visited in January, immediately after the crops were damaged. The state government had also completed its crop damage assessment. This is just a waste of time and it will eventually delay the payment of the compensation," he said.