As many as 320 cotton farmers in the mandal here are likely to be denied insurance cover in the Kharif 2018, as last-minute rush and banker’s ‘unrealistic commitment’ resulted in DDs not being issued before the closing date.
State Bank of India, Nampally branch, about 50 kms from here, had accepted payments for issue of demand drafts on July 13. But the instruments were handed over only on Monday — a day after the insurance scheme, Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS), was closed for subscription.
The RWBCIS, under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, is jointly implemented by the Centre and the State, and farmers contributes 5% of the premium — Rs. 1, 750 per acre in the present case. The scheme provides cover to cotton, chilli, sweet lime and oil seed crops, with separate closing dates for registration.
“The agriculture officials are not accepting the DD saying we are illiterate,” says Nenavath Jyothi, waving the demand draft dated 16th and the counterfoil dated 13th pinned together. And more than a hundred farmers, men and women, have been protesting outside the bank since Monday, even as the bank’s gates remain closed for most time and the police keep watch.
, branch manager G. Yugandhar however says the branch with just three members staff, including himself, did their best. “It (13th ) was a Friday and the next two days was off. Besides the rush, we also suffered ‘systems down’ as it was the weekend, but we came back on Saturday and Sunday to check if the systems were working.” Further, the drafts could not be issued with a back-date, he added.
Meanwhile, agriculture officers in the district say that there is hope for the farmers only if the Agriculture Insurance Company of India extends the closing date. “If they don’t, farmers have to cancel their DDs and move on,” an official said. Mr. Yugandhar assured that in case the DDs had to be cancelled he would seek permission to waive DD cancellation charges. “We don’t want the money, please change the date,” the farmers said continuing with their protest.
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