The Madras High Court today sought Agricultural Insurance Company India Ltd’s stand on a plea for disbursing insurance claims to farmers, who are yet to get the insurance benefits despite suffering crop damage. A bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar issued notices to New Delhi-based AICI and its chief regional manager seeking their stands on the plea filed by a farmers’ body chief Giridharan.
In his plea, Giridharan said the insurance firm, despite having been paid the premium in time, has not released the insurance amount to farmers who suffered the crop damage. After issuing notices, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on June 26.
Giridharan submitted that the Centre had implemented the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) for mitigating financial losses suffered by the farmers due to damage and destruction of their crops. The insurance company had fixed Rs 20,000 as sum assured for an acre of crop loss for 2015-16.
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Of this, the farmers had to pay 1 per cent of the amount as premium while the Central and the state governments had to bear 0.45 per cent and 0.55 per cent costs of the premium to the insurance company respectively. The farmers, the Central and the state governments have already paid their shares for the year 2015-16 to the insurance company, Giridharan submitted.
He argued that despite the payment of premium, the insurance company has not released the insurance amount to the farmers in Tamil Nadu due to which more than 300 farmers, dismayed by their crop damage and losses, committed suicide. The insurance company had stated that the total claim amounting to Rs 450.68 crore for 2015-16 Rabi season was not released because of the “incorrect’ reports submitted by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and the state government’s Department of Economics and Statistics and the Department of Agriculture.
Alleging that these departments of the Central and the state governments were blaming each other for not releasing the claim amount, the petitioner sought a direction to the insurance company to disburse the claim amount.