14,031 farmers in 41 villages to get Rs.28-crore relief

All farmers, other than those who have raised paddy, would get compensation in due course, Collector M. Ravikumar said at an agriculturists’ grievances day meeting here on Friday.

The Collector was responding to the allegations of farmer leaders such as K. Ulaganathan who wondered why the Chief Minister had announced compensation only for farmers in delta districts. “What happens to lakhs of farmers who have raised various other crops, including cashew, corn, cotton, and so on? We in Ariyalur district depend on rains for water. Are we not farmers,” he said. “We have been made to beg virtually,” he said.

The Collector said 14,031 farmers in 41 villages in the district would get a compensation of Rs. 28 crore soon. Of them, 1,691 had insured their crop while the rest had failed to do so. “We will get an undertaking from all of them and start disbursing the compensation,” he added.

Rajachidambaram, general secretary of the Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham, while thanking the Chief Minister for recognising Aiyalur as a delta district, wondered why the benefits given to delta farmers were not extended to those in the district.

He wanted to know why there was a separate group of farmers who were said to have not insured their crops while the State government had claimed that it had paid insurance premium for all farmers in the delta region.

The Collector said when the State government conceived a scheme under which all farmers in delta region were to get insurance cover, Ariyalur was not considered a part of the delta region.

Mr. Ravikumar said that insurance scheme might or might not help all farmers because the insurance company assessed the crop loss only in certain areas in each firkha. He said this method could be a double-edged sword. It could benefit even those who had not suffered losses while those who lost the crop could be left out. Mr. Rajachidambaram alleged several irregularities were found in the list of people eligible for compensation. “It is because of the village administrative officers who deserve condign punishment,” he said and pleaded that these lists should be displayed in all the agricultural credit co-operative societies so that farmers who had genuinely suffered losses were identified. As compensation was yet to be disbursed, it was not too late for the administration to take corrective action, he said.