11,000 farmers have not submitted undertaking on insurance: Jayashree Muralidharan

District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan on Friday expressed her unhappiness over the failure of a large number of farmers failing to insure their crops “despite my persistent advice.”

Speaking at the agriculturists’ grievances day, she pointed out that of the total compensation of Rs. 33.7 core sanctioned for the seven delta taluks in the district, Rs. 33.12 crore had been disbursed to 24,974 farmers through the respective bank accounts. Only 11,676 farmers had chosen to withdraw Rs. 21.82 crore so far, she said.

Before disbursing the compensation, the administration should get an undertaking from each farmer that he would hand over the insured amount to the government as and when paid by the insurance company. “Though the State government was magnanimous enough to give you in advance Rs. 15,000 which includes the insured amount of about Rs. 8,000, all that many of you are likely to get from the insurance company will be only proportionate to the loss suffered.”

Though the government had come forward to pay the premium for agricultural insurance, 11,000 farmers in the district had failed to submit the undertaking, she said. “Can’t you just sign these papers because all that the government wants you to do is just insure your crops?”

Of the crop loan target of Rs. 175 crore, Rs. 171.15 crore had been achieved so far. “Steps are being taken to reschedule the short-term loans into medium-term loans,” she said.

Farmers, led by Ayilai Sivasurian, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangham (CPI), and Puliur R. Nagarajan, State vice-president of the Agriculturists Wing of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, appealed to the Collector to get at least 1,000 cusecs of water from the Mettur Dam for the 17-channel area where banana on thousands of acres was withering. “We have spent more than Rs. 1.5 lakh an acre and those who have gone in for banana would be ruined if the government failed to heed our plea,” they said. They demanded compensation of Rs. 1 lakh for banana, and Rs. 50,000 for sugarcane and betel vines.

However, C. Masilamani, District Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangham (CPI-M), was categorical that drawing any water from the Mettur dam would backfire. “Already the water level in Mettur reservoir has touched 28 ft. Of this, almost 20 ft is nothing but silt. If you were to draw 1,000 cusecs, the level would slump,” he warned. He wondered whether the 1,000 cusecs would be able to save the standing crops.

When this provoked a number of farmers, Mr. Masilamani chose to explain that instead of giving water, the farmers should be granted compensation for the drought-hit crops.

The Collector said she had taken up the matter with the State government.