Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has been consistently fighting to protect the rights of farmers of Tamil Nadu, especially with respect to getting the State’s due share of water in the Cauvery from Karnataka, said N.R.Sivapathi, Minister for School Education, Law, Youth Welfare and Sports, here on Saturday. Taking a dig at the DMK, without naming the party, Mr.Sivapathi said though the party was part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, party leaders had not raised their voice to press the Centre to prevail upon Karnataka to release water in the Cauvery.

“This is an issue of livelihood for farmers. Yet, the previous rulers did not do anything to uphold the rights of farmers. With Karnataka refusing to release water, we are facing a problem to meet even the drinking water requirement now,” he said at a function to mark the disbursement of welfare assistance to beneficiaries under the farmers protection scheme (Uzhavar Padukappu Thittam). Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, on the other hand, has been fighting for farmers’ rights since her first term in office, irrespective of whether the AIADMK was in alliance with the ruling formation at the Centre. She is still fighting for the cause, approaching the Supreme Court to get the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal implemented.

In Tiruchi district, about 2.64 lakh families with about 9.73 lakh members have been registered under the scheme, he said. The Minister distributed welfare assistance worth Rs.28.66 lakh under various heads of the scheme to 355 beneficiaries. P.Kumar, MP, R.Manoharan, M.Paranjothi, R.Chandrasekaran and D.Indira Gandhi, MLAs, Jayashree Muralidharan, Collector, and A.Jaya, Mayor, participated. Mr.Sivapathi also distributed free sewing machines to 112 refugees living at Kuttapattu and Vazhavanthankottai Sri Lankan refugee camps in the city.