Farmers demand Rs. 30,000 an acre as compensation

Blast disease attack on standing samba crop, delay in announcement of compensation to the farmers who incurred loss in yield in banana, and distraint proceedings by bank officials against defaulters of farm loans were some of the issues that came up for discussion at the farmers grievances day meeting here on Friday.

Initiating a discussion on the pest attack, P. Viswanathan, State president of Tamizhaga Tank and River Ayacutdars Association, and A. Nagarajan, president of Tamil Nadu Horticulture Crop Producers Association, said that the disease had caused extensive damage to the samba crop, particularly at a time when the crop was about to mature.

The farmers brought with them a few bundles of the withered crop and appealed to K. Tharbagaraj, District Revenue Officer (DRO), to recommend a compensation of Rs. 30,000 an acre to the affected farmers.

When Guru Raj Singh, Joint Director of Agriculture, explained that a sudden change in weather condition caused the disease and the department had recommended measures to tackle it, farmers said that the crop had already withered away fully, particularly in Manikandam and Andanallur blocks.

C. Masilamani, district president of Tamizhnadu Vivasayigal Sangam, referring to the repeated pleas seeking compensation for paddy crop, sugarcane, and banana for the past one year, said that most grievances being voiced at the meeting were oft-repeated. The authorities should evolve a permanent solution to achieve the objectives of the meeting.

When N. Veerasekaran, coordinator of Ayyan Vaikkal Ayacutdars Association, wanted additional direct procurement centres for the samba crop in and around Lalgudi, Mr. Tharbagaraj assured of prompt action.

Foot-and-mouth disease

The delay in announcing relief to cattle owners and the closure of the shandy at Manapparai evoked sharp reactions from the farmers. M.P. Chinnadurai, district president of Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said that the closure of the shandy stood testimony to the incidence of the disease, but wondered over the delay in granting compensation.

Mr. Ayyakannu said that a few commercial banks resorted to attachment proceedings, inflicting more financial loss on farmers.