Officials asked to assess quantum of loss for sending a report to the Government: Madurai Collector

Collector L. Subramanian on Friday said that it might not be possible to declare the entire district as drought affected during the current financial year on the basis of losses suffered by farmers in Melur taluk alone.

He made the observation while responding to a plea made by Karu Kathiresan, Melur taluk president of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, and a few other farmers at a meeting convened in the Collectorate to redress farmers’ grievances.

Mr. Subramanian said that there were well laid guidelines for declaring a district as drought affected and Madurai may not satisfy those norms because farmers in certain taluks such as Sholavandan and Vadipatti had done well this year.

“We have recorded bumper harvest in the double crop area spread over 20,000 acres and around 15,000 acres of single crop area had already been harvested. These are issues that would stand in the way of declaring the district as drought prone,” he explained.

Nevertheless, not denying that many farmers in the district had indeed suffered losses, the Collector said that he had already instructed Agriculture Department officials to assess the quantum of loss for sending a report to the State Government seeking compensation.

He also said that a comprehensive report on the losses suffered by coconut growers in the district had been sent to the State Government and it was under the latter’s consideration. He expected a positive response at the earliest.

“I met the Agriculture Secretary as well as Agriculture Commissioner and reminded them about the compensation to coconut growers in our district during my recent visit to Chennai for attending the Collectors’ Conference,” he informed the gathering.

Illegal granite quarrying

On the issue of the district administration having lost its pace in actions initiated against illegal granite quarrying firms, Collector L. Subramanian said that he had taken great efforts to get dismissed a batch of cases filed by the granite firms in the Supreme Court.

“Now, we have begun initiating firm action against those firms. The process cannot be completed overnight,” he added.

When an office-bearer of a farmers’ association claimed that many stone quarries in Melur taluk were being mined illegally even after the lapse of the lease period, the Collector asked the Mines and Minerals Department officials to constitute special squads to keep a check on such illegalities.

“In fact, I received a complaint at around 4 a.m. recently alleging that a vehicle was carrying stones quarried illegally. Immediately, I constituted a team to inspect the spot and it found that those stones had been brought from a neighbouring district,” he said.

Dealing with other issues related to farming, the Collector urged the farmers to submit applications if they were interested in establishing farm ponds in their lands. “All that you need to do is submit an application along with your Patta (land ownership document).

“I shall ask my officials to inspect the site, prepare the estimate and start the work. We are ready to establish as many as 2,500 farms ponds in our district. But I am told that not many farmers are interested in establishing such ponds,” he said.

When a farmer pointed out that the crop insurance for the year 2012 had not been disbursed so far, an official from the Madurai District Central Cooperative Bank said that it had received Rs. 1.98 crore which works out to 83 per cent of the total crop insurance amount for the year 2012.

“The bank received the money only on Monday. We shall deposit it in the farmers’ bank accounts in the next two to three days,” the official added.

On the allegation of some farmers that the Tiruvadavur branch of a nationalised bank had issued crop loan to bogus farmers, an official of the National Cooperative Sugar Mill at P. Mettupatti near here said that the bank had issued loans to 24 individuals though the mill had recommended loan only for four of them.

The Collector said that he would initiate appropriate action on the issue through the Lead Bank of the district.

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