Indian farmer gets one-dollar cheque in flood relief: report

MUMBAI (AFP) - An Indian farmer whose says his home and crops were badly damaged by severe floods this year has received government compensation of just 80 rupees (S$1.60), a report said Wednesday.

Mr Sonba Ganpat Bawne, from the poverty-hit Vidarbha region in the western state of Maharashtra, said he had spent 14,000 rupees (S$280) repairing his home after the flooding, according to the NDTV news network.

The 55-year-old said he received a cheque from the local government which was less than he had spent on refreshments for the official who surveyed the house to assess compensation a month ago.

"This is a cruel joke on us. If the government is so hard up for money, we should collect some funds to help them out," Mr Bawne's son Ruprao said.

But a district revenue officer, Mr Ramesh Wandile, said the survey had shown only one per cent damage, amounting to 83 rupees.

"We gave a round figure of 80 rupees," he told NDTV.

The report said that, while a 20 billion (S$400.8 million) rupee package was set aside for those hit by July's floods in the area, many farmers complained of receiving little or no help from the state.

More than 100 people died in the floods in Vidarbha, an area known for its high rate of farmer suicides.

Further north in India's Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, nearly 6,000 pilgrims, tourists and others are believed to have died when flash floods and landslides struck in June.

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