They also demand Rs. 2,500 as minimum procurement price per tonne of sugarcane
Around 8,040 activists of the Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK) courted arrest in Coimbatore City and six revenue districts of West Zone seeking permission to tap toddy and Rs. 2,500 as minimum procurement price per tonne of sugarcane.
In Coimbatore, the agitation was by nearly 1,000 activists, including more than 185 women.
The demonstrators came with toddy pots and raised slogans hailing toddy compared to the Indian Made Foreign Liquor marketed through Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation.
The agitators were led by State convener G.K. Nagaraj. At the demonstration held at other places, the party's president ‘Best' S. Ramasamy and general secretary, E.R. Easwaran took part.
In Coimbatore district, more than 2,900 activists were removed at two places at Four Road Junction at Karumathampatti and near Gandhi Statue in Pollachi.
Police said the agitation conducted remained peaceful and the activists were removed because they went ahead with the agitation despite denial of permission, defying police orders.
When the police offered release, the cadres refused to leave the place.
They are reported to have said that they would not go until a solution was found seeking permission to tap toddy.
Demanding the release of KMK activists, there were road blockades by party activists at Sulur and Karumathampatti.
Our Tirupur Staff Reporter adds:
As many as 1,916 Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK) members were arrested in Tirupur district on Thursday when they conducted ‘jail bharo' agitation at various places in order to draw the attention of the Government towards issues confronting the agrarian community.
The agitations in Tirupur district were conducted by activists at Avinashi, Palladam and Dharapuram.
KMK State president ‘Best' S. Ramasamy, who was arrested in the agitation that was held at Avinashi, said that the Government should immediately give permission to resume toddy tapping in the State and thereby help the coconut farmers come out of the distress conditions that they were in following poor price realization for the coconut crop.
“It is been proved time and again that toddy is nutritious,” he pointed out.
Mr. Ramasamy stated that the Government should announce a minimum support price of at least Rs. 2,500 for a tonne of sugarcane since the current price stands much below Rs. 2,000.
The KMK men also wanted the State Government to disburse subsidy to farmers engaged in dry land agriculture at the rate of Rs. 5,000 per annum for every acre of land they held.
The State Government should also complete the Avinashi- Athikadavu water scheme on a war footing to boost irrigation in the Kongu region.
Mr Ramasamy wanted the Government to give uninterrupted power supply to farming activities as well as to the textile industry in Tirupur and nearby clusters – the two sectors in which the majority of the population in Kongu belt depended on.
Some of the other demands included good price for lands acquired from farmers for widening of National Highways and attractive procurement price for milk.