Whenever farmers make a call to the toll-free helpline of Prime Minister Modi's 'Fasal Bima Yojana', the recorded message is the only thing welcoming them. Though farmers hoping to get some response from the helpline centre cling to their phones after a while, they are forced to cut the call as is no response from the other side.

 

Many farmers have insured their crops under the 'Fasal Bima Yojana' (crop insurance scheme) - newly launched by the Union Government. The scheme promises monetary relief for the crop loss due to floods. But the information should be given to the authorities concerned within 48 hours of the destruction.

 

Due to the incessant rains that ravaged the Bidar district in Karnataka, crops grown in 2.89 lakh hectares are destroyed. Besides this, Soybean - grown in 1,52,186 hectares - has been ruined due to heavy rains that lashed the district. Apart from that, Toor dal in 69,670 hectares land and Maize in 26,407 hectares also have been destroyed.

 

A total of 1.74 lakh farmers have paid the crop insurance premium, totalling up to ₹13 crore, under 'Fasal Bima Yojana' insurance scheme in the district.

 

Reportedly, the Union government had assigned the insurance responsibility to Tata AIG Company. The company has stated that farmers can record their crop losses to the Primary Land Co-operative Societies by making a call to the toll-free number.

 

However, farmers have complained of hearing only the recorded message and not getting connected to the persons concerned on the toll-free number. Farmers said, that despite being on hold for over 20 minutes, they have been unable to get any response from the other side.

 

When the call is answered, farmers complain that they usually receive a standard answer - "As the stipulated 48 hours duration has expired, no relief can be given, as per the pre-condition laid down in the insurance policy."

 

“Many farmers, who are ignorant, do not know how to call the toll-free helpline. Even if they call the number, they get the answer 'Person concerned is not available'. Even when the right person is accessed over the phone, - the standard reply that 'Time duration is barred and no relief would be given' is what they receive,” said Vishwanath Patil Kauta, President of the District Farmers’ Association.

 

"It is not a pre-condition that one has to call the helpline number. All necessary information has been passed on from district co-operative banks and government as well. Farmers need not become anxious. Of the total 1.74 lakh farmers, only 900 have called the helpline centre, as per records. All will get the insurance relief," said Zia Ulla, Joint Director, Department of Agriculture, Bidar.

 

The rumours of insurance authorities visiting the lands of only those who have called the toll-free number and doing a survey of crops have made those who have not made calls feel uneasy.

 

The remaining thousands of farmers, who have lost their crops, are in the state of uncertainty over their insurance relief, despite paying insurance premiums.

 

The farmers' associations insist that the Centre should intervene and give clarify the aggrieved farmers about the scheme.