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Farm insurance firm gets notice

The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Agricultural Insurance Company India Limited, on a Public Interest Litigation seeking to disperse the insurance claim amount to all the Tamil Nadu farmers who had paid the premium and stall the growing farmers suicide owing to this.

Farm insurance firm gets notice
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Madras High Court

Chennai

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, before whom the PIL moved by Tamilaga Kaveri Vivasayigal Sangam (TKVS) came up for hearing on Thursday, issued notice and posted it for further hearing to June 28. 

TKVS president G Giridharan in his plea submitted that the Government of India had implemented a scheme called National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) through Agricultural Insurance Company of India Ltd providing crop insurance to the farmers. The scheme aims at mitigating the financial losses suffered by the farmers owing to damage or destruction of their crops caused by various production risks. 

The Insurance Company had fixed the premium for 2015-16 as Rs 20, 000 per acre and as per the scheme farmers must pay 1 per cent of the premium while the balance one per cent premium would be borne by both the Union and state governments in the proportion of 0.45: 0.55 respectively on behalf of farmers to the Insurance Company. 

While the farmers, as well as the Centre, paid their dues for the year 2015 and 2016 and the state of Tamil Nadu issued a Government Order on February 13, 2017, in this regard and subsequently paid up its share. But, the insurance company is yet to release the amount to the farmers in the state resulting in at least 300 farmers  committing suicide owing to crop damage and loss, the petitioner said. 

He further noted that when contacted it was informed by the insurance company that the claim amounting to Rs 450.68 crores for paddy II for Rabi 2015-16 was not released because of the incorrect report submitted by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Economics and Statistics in Chennai. 

Along with this, the insurance firm has also blamed the state director of agriculture for not providing the data required for approving claims properly. The firm also said that another reason for not paying the money was that there is a huge difference between the area sown provided by the Director of Agriculture and Department of Economics and Statistics and hence they are not able to disperse the claim amount to the farmers. 

Alleging that these departments of Union and state governments blame each other for not releasing the claim amount because of which several farmers committed suicide, the plea sought for a direction to the Agricultural Insurance Company of India Ltd to disperse the insurance claim of the farmers, who paid the premium amount. It also asked the court to direct the firm to pay compensation for the delay in dispersing the amount.

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