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Updated: January 24, 2014 11:56 IST

A double whammy for cotton farmers

Special Correspondent
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A woman labourer picking cotton at Thaapaai village near Pullampadi in Tiruchi district on Thursday. Photo: A.Muralitharan
The Hindu
A woman labourer picking cotton at Thaapaai village near Pullampadi in Tiruchi district on Thursday. Photo: A.Muralitharan

Deficient rain, mysterious disease damage crops

Failure of monsoon and higher incidence of disease has hit cotton growers hard in Tiruchi and Perambalur districts. Cotton is raised in a cluster of villages bordering Tiruchi and Perambalur districts. Just as the uneven rainfall experienced by the villages bordering Perambalur, the damage suffered too varied from village to village or even from field to field within a firka, said S. Raja Chidambaram, State secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

A new disease had hit cotton crops in the region and Bt cotton growers had suffered severe loss due to the disease. “We have not witnessed such disease in the past and the State government should conduct an exclusive study on Bt cotton and evolve remedial measure,” he said.

The worst affected are the cotton growers in and around Pullampadi. Karunanidhi, councillor, who raised the issue at the district panchayat council meeting held here recently, said that the cotton growers had lost the crop for the second consecutive season. Although the State government had sanctioned some relief for the loss suffered in 2012, the insurance companies had not disbursed any indemnity for that period (2012).

For the current season, he sought adequate relief from the State government and indemnity from the insurance companies. He said that about 30,000 acres had been damaged in and around Pullampadi. A farmer of Thaapaai village bordering Tiruchi and Pullampadi, R.Dharmaraj (32) said that he had invested Rs.15,000 to raise cotton on his one-and-a-half acres. Although he anticipated a return of Rs.50,000, he could realise only Rs.20,000.

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