Calcutta, March 19: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today sanctioned Rs 6.2 crore to help farmers affected by last week’s hailstorm grow a cash crop to recover some of the losses they suffered.
The decision was taken at a meeting Bhattacharjee held with agriculture minister Kamal Guha and the principal agriculture officers of the worst-affected districts of Hooghly, Bankura and North 24-Parganas.
Guha told reporters the chief minister stressed the need for cultivation of high-yielding cash crops by the affected farmers. He also asked officials of General Insurance Company — present in today’s meeting — to expedite payment to those whose crops were insured.
He added that over 60,000 affected farmers will be asked to cultivate groundnut, maize and oil seeds. “We will provide the minikit, fertilisers and other necessary facilities for cultivation of these cash crops. We have advised farmers to contact our district agriculture officials for more details on the current knowhow,” he added.
In a meeting of the mass education committee, of which he is the chairman, Bhattacharjee emphasised on promotion of mass education to ensure education for children up to 14 years.
Expressing concern over the increasing drop-out rate from classes V to VIII, the chief minister made it clear that all children must get education up to Class VIII by 2007.
School education minister Kanti Biswas said the state has sought Rs 1,200 crore from the Centre to help distribution of cooked food to three lakh students of 1,205 primary schools.