In the wake of widespread rain in the Vaigai catchment area, farmers are preparing to start agricultural operations and have urged the Public Works Department engineers to ensure that 40 sluices in all the channels in the district are in proper condition and the waterways free from encroachments.

At the farmers’ grievance day meeting held at the Collectorate here on Friday, they said if the channels were free from encroachments, the water in reservoirs could be better utilised. A farmer, Buthisigamani, said that if maintenance work was carried out on a war footing, the channels would facilitate free flow of water.

Ravi, another farmer, wanted the Collector to instruct public sector banks to reduce interest rates on agricultural loans, taking into account the fact that the farmers had suffered losses in the last farming season owing to severe drought.

Since the southwest monsoon had started, officials should be directed to keep adequate stock of seeds and fertilizers, said a progressive farmer, Rajamanickam.

Tamil Nadu Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association president Palanichamy demanded adequate compensation to the farmers whose lands were taken by force by granite mine owners for stocking their finished product. He also complained that a large amount of seized granite stones were missing. The Collector directed the Assistant Director (Mines) to look into the matter and submit a report.

Seetharaman, a farmer, wanted relief for coconut growers in Sholavandan, Vadipatti and other places to offset their losses.

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