At least eight persons were killed in lightning strikes and a hailstorm, as unseasonal showers lashed several parts of Chhattisgarh in the last couple of days, state Revenue Minister Jaisingh Agrawal told the Assembly on Tuesday.
Damage to crops was reported in different districts and the compensation will be distributed to farmers after assessment, he said. The issue of losses suffered by farmers in several parts of the state due to the untimely spell and hailstorm was raised by opposition BJP MLAs and a discussion was sought by moving an adjournment motion notice.
Speaking in the zero hour, BJP legislator Shivratan Sharma said vegetables, wheat, and gram crops were damaged in several places, but the state government is yet to survey the losses.
Backing Sharma, BJP MLAs Ajay Chandrakar and Dharamlal Kaushik said farmers were bearing the brunt of poor policies of the state government and they should be provided compensation immediately for the losses caused to crops.
They demanded a discussion on the adjournment motion notice. Deputy Speaker Santram Netam, however, rejected their notice and assured them that the issue will be taken up for discussion in any form later.
Subsequently, Agrawal said his department has received reports of crop losses and a directive has been given to collectors to assess the crop damage in all districts including Raipur, Durg, Bemetara and Kabirdham.
"The state witnessed 13.7 mm rainfall on March 19 and 6.2 mm on March 20. As per the information received, seven people died in lightning strikes and one due to a hailstorm. Besides, the rainfall-related incidents have also claimed the lives of 36 animals and partially damaged 209 houses," the minister said.
He said crops in about 385.216 hectares were damaged due to untimely rainfall and hailstorm. There is a provision to provide compensation for losses due to natural calamities within 15 days, the minister added.
Leader of Opposition Narayan Chandel said revenue officials should immediately disburse a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each of the eight persons killed in natural calamities.