New Delhi: Within hours of Rahul Gandhi asking the government to take urgent steps to help farmers hit by rains and hailstorm, the government on Monday assured necessary action after getting reports from the affected states.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told the Lok Sabha that reports from states about damage to crops by heavy rains and hailstorm this weekend are expected in 3-4 days.
The government would take necessary action after getting reports from the states, Singh said, adding that he has already spoken to the Agriculture Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
He also said that necessary help would be extended after assessing the extent of damages in different areas.
Singh said around 264 villages have been affected by hailstorms and heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh.
Rains and hailstorm lashed several parts of North India including Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana over the weekend and early this morning.
According to reports, rains have flattened wheat, mustard and coriander crops in the states.
"Our team is ready and we will take (necessary) action" after getting the reports, he told the Lower House hours after the Congress Vice President raised the issue.
The Minister also said the government has decided to extend funds from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the Union Territories. Delhi would also be eligible to get funds under it, he added.
As soon as the House met for the day, Gandhi raised the issue and said "crops have been damaged... the government should take immediate action." He urged the Centre to send a team to assess the damage and demanded a statement by the Minister in the House.
The Congress leader said the Centre should hasten the provision of relief to the affected farmers and, unlike the last time, the assistance should not reach late.
As the House took up Zero Hour, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected notices of adjournment given by Gandhi and some other members on the issue.
When Gandhi raised the issue in the morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said he has
spoken with the Agriculture Minister on the "serious" issue, who is in touch with state governments.