SC gives 3 weeks to Telangana to explain crop loss compensation

Supreme Court of India held a preliminary hearing on Thursday on the special leave petition filed by the Telangana government

Telangana High Court

HYDERABAD: The Telangana government did not distribute a single rupee of compensation, despite the fact that the Centre had sanctioned Rs.188 crores under the Disaster Relief Fund and the TS government's own reports showed crop loss in 15 lakh acres, claimed Rythu Swarajya Vedika(RSV).

The Supreme Court of India held a preliminary hearing on Thursday on the special leave petition filed by the Telangana government, appealing against the Telangana High Court judgement in the PIL filed for crop loss compensation by activists of the farmer organisation Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV).

The Telangana government was ordered by the High Court on September 28, 2021, to immediately list all farmers who experienced severe crop loss as a result of the floods in October 2020 and to finish distributing compensation within 4 months of the ruling, including tenant cultivators among the beneficiaries. The government of Telangana filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in January 2022 after failing to follow the High Court's instructions within the allotted period.

According to Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), when the Supreme Court asked Telangana's counsel about whether the state had provided any compensation to the affected farmers, the counsel was unable to respond and instead gave the Court information on its general cash transfer scheme.

The Telangana State Government was given 3 weeks to answer the respondents' counteraffidavit after the Court rephrased the question about crop loss compensation and issued notice in the case. The Rythu Swarajya Vedika respondents have already submitted a thorough counter-affidavit to the S.L.P. in response to the reasons raised by the Telangana government in their petition.

Kirankumar Vissa, Ravi Kanneganti, and S. Ashalatha of Rythu Swarajya Vedika argued in a petition to the Telangana High Court for the immediate distribution of crop loss compensation to the thousands of farmers affected by the record-breaking rains and flooding in October 2020.The PIL established that the state government had sent the Union government a Final Report in October 2020, along with detailed tables showing severe crop loss on 15 lakh acres, and that in February 2021, the federal government had approved spending of Rs. 188 crores from the Disaster Response Funds (NDRF/SDRF).

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 committing suicide. 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. 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 judgement 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. "

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