The state government will disburse Rs 160 crore as compensation to the farmers whose crops were damaged during the mid-May rain and hail storm in the districts. Also in view of the apprehension about an erratic monsoon this season, the state has decided to adopt System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for paddy cultivation in which the water requirement is less.

According to state agriculture minister Purnendu Basu, the compensation is being provided from the state disaster management coffers against which a claim for reimbursement would be later placed before the Centre. Mr Basu said that the Rs 160 crore has already been sent to all the district magistrates, who would soon start disbursing the compensation to the affected farmers through cheque.

The minister could not readily state the number of farmers eligible for the compensation but said that the damaged crop area was more than one lakh hectares. While more or less all the districts barring Kolkata witnessed nature’s wrath, the most affected district was East Midnapore. The crops that were damaged include sesame, mustard and paddy.