More assistance for farmers hit by natural calamities, says Chandy

The State government will submit proposals to the Centre seeking an exclusive development package for ‘kole' paddy fields in Thrissur and to secure maximum assistance under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

Inaugurating the State Farmers' Day celebrations organised by the Department of Agriculture here on Wednesday, Mr. Chandy said going by the population figures and other factors, it was possible to secure Rs.1,000 crore from the Rs.25,000 crore set apart for RKVY and hence the government had decided to tap the potential. A ministerial team will go to New Delhi on Sunday to submit the proposals. The Centre had been liberal in granting assistance for developing agriculture. The packages for Kuttanad and Idukki were examples. Implementing the packages was a real challenge, he said. The State government had taken an uncompromising stand on the endosulfan issue. There was no need for another study. The experiences in Kasaragod were an eye-opener, he said. The government had decided to enhance the assistance given to farmers hit by natural calamities. The government would take a decision after the Cabinet sub-committee submitted its report, he said.

Speaker G. Karthikeyan who presented the Nelkathir award, warned against the encroachment on agriculture land holdings and reclamation for constructing flats and commercial establishments.

The challenge was to increase productivity by utilising the limited land resources, he said.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who launched a pension scheme for farmers, said about 15 to 20 lakh farmers who had completed 60 years of age and owned up to 2 hectare of land, were eligible for the Rs.300 monthly pension. It was a recognition to the services rendered by farmers to society. The comprehensive insurance scheme launched for farmers was yet another gift of the government, he said.

Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan, in his presidential address, said the publication, Kerala Karshakan, will be given to students in 29,000 schools for encouraging them to take up farming activities. Transport Minister V.S. Sivakumar presented the Karshakothama Award. Mayor K. Chandrika presented the Kera Kesari award. K. Muraleedharan, MLA; district panchayat president Remani P. Nair, and vice-president Rufus Daniel presented the other awards. Agriculture Production Commissioner K. Jayakumar welcomed and Secretary Davendrakumar Dodavath proposed a vote of thanks.